3 On Your Side helps reunite missing dog with owner

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Meet Baxter, a pug dachshund mix that recently managed to dig his way out of his owner's backyard.

“Where we moved before he couldn't get out but since this is a new house he dug under the fence and got out,” owner Shanna Webster said.

Shanna says she and her children were heartbroken when they came home and found Baxter was gone.

They looked for him everywhere and even posted lost dog signs around the neighborhood.

“We eventually got a phone call from a lady who said she had found our dog but she had turned him in to the surprise animal control,” she said.

Shanna searched for Baxter at different shelters and eventually found him at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

“You just think great! We found the dog and we went to the counter and tell the lady we have her dog and that's when we had kind of the bad news for us,” Shanna recalled.

Shanna says she was told she had to pay $533 to get Baxter back, a lot of money to retrieve a dog, she thought.

But the shelter said if she allowed them to neuter Baxter, she would only have to pay $310.

Shanna thought that didn't seem quite right, especially considering that if a stranger came along to adopt Baxter, they would only have to pay $150.

“The option is that my dog gets adopted or he will be euthanized,” she said. “It's not fair at all.”

Unable to come up with the money and worried Baxter would go home with another family, or worse, Shanna emailed 3 On Your Side.

“You know, I feel horrible as a mother thinking that $310 stands in the way of me and the dog,” she said.

“I was kind of mad and kind of sad,” Shanna’s son Lincoln said.

3 On Your Side contacted Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

Spokesperson Aprille Hollis tells us Shanna's fees were correct, because Baxter didn't have a current license or rabies vaccine which is required by law.

However, after our involvement, the county agreed to provide both and reduced the total fees to just $76.

“If they come in without a license, it could be a very well-loved pet but if it comes in without a license or a tag or any kind of information, we have no way to find their owners,” Hollis said.

The day after 3 On Your Side got involved, Shanna and her family are reunited with Baxter who was also micro-chipped before being released.

Shanna will have to pay for that later.

Shanna says she's grateful but still plans on making some changes to her backyard so Baxter can't claw his way out again.

“If it wasn't for 3 On Your Side we would not have got our dog back,” Shanna said.

“I love it. He's so cute. He's part of the family,” daughter Maleah said.

This a great reminder to make sure your pet’s license and vaccinations are up to date just in case your pet escapes.

Later this month, the shelter will be giving free rabies shots to animals.

In honor of World Rabies Day, MCACC's Uno por Uno program will be hosting a free rabies vaccination clinic.

All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in carriers. All animals must be at least three months of age, in good health and brought by their owner. Pregnant females will not be vaccinated.
Licenses available - $17 for sterilized dogs and $42 for unsterilized dogs. Microchips available for $25. Clinics are held rain or shine. MCACC reserves the right to cancel or limit the clinic duration in the event of severe weather. You may experience a lengthy wait in line.

Date: 9/28/2011
Time: 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM   
Registration Required: No   
More Info: http://www.pets.maricopa.gov
Location: MCACC
2500 S.27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ  85009