Dog adopted after being taken to Animal Services ahead of owner's hospital stay, man says

New owners refuse to give dog back to original owner

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A South Florida man whose dog ended up at Miami-Dade Animal Services after he was rushed to the hospital following a medical episode, found out later his dog had been adopted and he can't get his precious pup back.

Speaking to Local 10's Christian De La Rosa on the phone, Nelson Patricio said his 11-year-old American Eskimo, Cheryl, is his family.

"She's my daughter. After all these years, she's my daughter," he said. 

Patricio said Cheryl is also his service dog.

But earlier this month, she ended up at Miami-Dade Animal Services after he ended up at a hospital.

Weeks later, when he got out, he found out his dog had been adopted. 

"Listen, I've had that dog since she was a little baby," Patricio said. "It's a beautiful dog. She's very smart. She loves me and I love her. That's it. How can you do that to somebody?"

Erik Hofmeyer, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Animal Services, released a statement to Local 10 News that read: "To try and help the former owner, Animal Services contacted the new owner to see if they were willing to return the dog. On July 25, the new owners responded and stated that they wanted to keep the dog. We are saddened for the former owner and we sympathize with what he is going through at this time.

"Unfortunately, we cannot hold an animal indefinitely without any communication or updates. We want to emphasize that it was a legal adoption, and we encourage the public to respect the privacy of the new owners who chose to rescue a shelter pet not knowing the circumstances behind its admission to the shelter. We strongly encourage the public to ensure that all pets have up-to-date tags and microchips with correct contact information at all times."

While Patricio said the adoption may have been legal, he believes that morally, it was not right.

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