By Velena Jones

WOODLAND (CBS13) — First, their dog ran away, and then it was found. Now, a Woodland family says they are still fighting to get their four-legged friend back.

“When we went to adopt him it was like a piece of our family fell into our laps, we felt complete,” said Tori Cunningham.

In just five months, Duke, Tori’s one-year-old Rottweiler, has pawed his way into her family’s heart. All that changed when the Rottweiler escaped from the family’s backyard last week and was taken back to the “Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue” where he was adopted from in April.

“He’s stuck in a rescue right now in a kennel when he can be at home playing and being with his family,” said Cunningham.

Owner Tori claims the animal rescue in Woodland refused to give Duke back without a mandatory home inspection, but never followed through.

“She told us basically that per her contract they don’t have to give him back to us if they don’t want to,” said Cunningham.

According to their contract, the rescue group reserves the right to take the dog at their discretion if the placement is not a good choice.

READ: Momo Returns Home: Dog Stolen With Van In East Sacramento Finds Way Back Home

“I agree to allow a representative of Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue to visit my home periodically to ensure that the dog is well cared for,” the contract reads. “If Rotts of Friends determines, in its sole discretion, that the placement was not a good choice, or if I refuse to allow Rotts of Friends to check on this dog, I agree that Rotts of Friends may recover the dog for placement in another home,” the contract states.

“We created this contract to avoid situations like this and we can only hope that people abide by those rules and understand why we are trying to enforce the contract,” said Rotts of Friends owner, Renee Lancaster.

Lancaster owns the rescue that rehabilitates dogs back to health. She is referring to her legal counsel on how to proceed, claiming there are “red flags” at the home.

“The last time I had communications with this family we received some very threatening, intimidating and perceived hostile phone calls and at that point, we were advised not to return calls,” Lancaster said.

The rescue adopts out 100 animals every year. Lancaster claims it’s about following protocol.

“We are the advocates for the animals. When we think that everything is safe and our contract has been abided by then we are going to stay hopeful that we can reunite that family,” she explained.

Tori said the dispute over man’s best friend is tearing her family apart.

“When you have a dog that is being treated fairly and loved, I don’t think it’s fair to take somebody’s family member and not give them back,” said Cunningham.

Velena Jones

Comments (3)
  1. fiddlestix says:

    These “rescue” places are the reason why not to get a rescue dog. With their unenforceable contracts, high prices and they get first pick at shelters. They try to play on feeling and not logic. They need to get regulated and broken up

  2. Help for all says:

    I think the rescue should have done their do diligence PRIOR to placing the dog. Just because the dog escaped and wondered off does not make the people bad owners. Let them have their dog back. I have had dogs “wonder off” does not mean they RAN AWAY. We searched and found them or they came home. How many have had a pet escape? Do you really want someone to be able to claim it?

  3. Anne Burke says:

    I’ve been involved in dog rescue for 15 years. Just because a dog escaped does not make it an unsuitable home. Some dogs are escape artists, no matter how diligent you are. Because that rescue failed to do the home visit they required, they should get the dog back. They sound like a shady operation. I found a prior foster of mine running the streets in my town about 6 months after she was adopted. I was upset to see her crossing a busy road but I knew she was with a great family. I brought her back to them, happily!

Leave a Reply