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I-Team: 7-Year Old Caught In The Middle Of Dog Dispute

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Ginger Allen
Ginger is the Senior Investigative Reporter of the CB...
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COLLIN COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) - “I need back Lola back. Please…”

Seven-year old Diego Gonzalez is begging for his Yorkie, named Lola. Lola and Diego are the same age. They grew up together, but now Lola is living with another family.

“Her bed is right here. My bed is right here,” explains Diego as he shows us around his room.

In January, Diego and his family were vacationing in Mexico. Back home, Lola got out the family’s front door during a snow storm. Diego’s grandmother was watching Lola but couldn’t chase her down. Lola’s tag had the family’s old address.

“When I arrived on January the fourth, I started to knock, knocking on all the doors. Finally, I got a neighbor who told me that Lola was with them on December 26th.”

Gabriella Gonzalez, Diego’s mother, explains how the neighbor told her that she took Lola to the Collin County Animal Services.

CBS 11 has learned by state law a shelter must hold an animal 72-hours. And, it is required to try to find the owner. But most shelters have a policy that extends that hold to six-days. At that point, the shelter typically becomes the owner. It can then euthanize the animal, adopt it out, or hand it over to a rescue group.

A Collin County spokesperson told CBS 11 it held Lola eight-days, and then Moka’s Dog Rescue picked her up.

“I’ve been begging, begging, begging them. Please give me the number to the family that has Lola so we can talk with them,” says Gonzalez.

But Gonzalez says the owner of Moka’s refuses to give her the name of the person who adopted Lola.

“There’s no right to privacy unless there’s something in the contract,” explains Attorney Randy Turner. Turner specializes in animal law. Turner doesn’t understand why Moka’s is refusing to tell the Gonzalez family who has Lola. But, he says the law would likely allow the new owners to keep Lola.

“If this dog was picked up by a city that has ordinance authorizing the city to dispose of the dog after so many days, as bad as it sounds, there’s really no legal option open- no matter how damaged the child is.”

It’s all very complicated to seven-year-old Diego who is left holding onto memories and holding out hope.

Collin County tells the CBS 11 I-Team this is a closed matter.

The owner of Moka’s Dog Rescue would not talk on camera, because he says the issue is now a legal matter.

Animal shelters and rescue groups do tell CBS 11 they have to become owners after so many days or lost animals would never be adopted. They say new owners would never adopt, because they would always worry about the original owners coming back.

Pet owners should always make sure their animals’ tags are correct. And, look up your city or county ordinance and know the regulations. The city or county does become the owner after it has held your animal for a certain number of days.

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