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Man Loses Chihuahua, Finds it at Animal Control but City Disagrees

9:22 AM, Jan 10, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ryan Burke is heartbroken and disappointed: His chihuahua has been missing since Christmas Eve.

"He's not missing anymore...I can't have my kid, but I know where he is. I can't have him back," said Burke.

Burke said his dog was in the backyard on Dec. 24 when Gizzmo decided to run after a cat. That was the last time he saw him.

Burke and his fiancee searched the Arlington neighborhood and repeatedly checked the Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services website.

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On Dec. 30, they found a dog that looked exactly like theirs on the city's website. "I am sure it is my dog," said Burke. 

Burke went to the animal control office Jan. 7 to claim his dog but he was denied even though he had the dog's paperwork and a photo ID, but it was not enough.

"They said it was not my dog," he said.

In a statement the city spokesperson Jennifer Savage said:

"Unfortunately, we do not agree that the pet in custody is the same pet that went missing from Mr. Burke's care. Neither pets, the one in custody or Mr. Burke's pet, are microchip or licensed with the city, which would have allowed for quicker identification.

The city said it will use animal description, location, and date of pick-up and photos to ensure the animal is returned to its correct owner. The city said it is confident the dog is not Burke's.

In fact, another pet owner has contacted the city and will most likely get the dog, according to animal control. Savage said that pet owner had a more accurate description of the dog in the agency's care.

The lesson: By county ordinance all dogs, cats and ferrets are required to get a rabies vaccine and be licensed. The license is renewed annually.

Savage said having a license makes it easier to identify a lost pet. She said if you can afford the luxury of a microchip for your pet that is even better.

One in three dogs will get lost in its lifetime.

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