THE BRONX — Yvonne Lisa Jones is still coping with the separation from her 1-year-old pup Latte.
Nearly three weeks ago, the friendly pit bull mix wandered off after a gate was left opened outside the family’s home in the South Bronx.
“We walked down to the store to see if anyone saw her, we went to all the buildings along the street where I live at,” Jones told PIX11. “We just didn’t know where she could be.”
Latte was found three blocks from her home by two NYPD officers that transported her to Animal Care Centers in East Harlem.
Without a collar or a microchip, workers were led to believe she was a stray after they followed protocol that’s in place for lost dogs brought to the facility.
“We do lost and found reports and we reach out to Facebook groups and different lost animal groups,” explained Rita Viola, a placement supervisor at ACCNYC.
The dog was put on a mandatory 3-day stray hold.
After 72 hours and no inquires, Latte was put up for adoption through ACC and sure enough, six days after she went missing, she was adopted by another family.
Jones, who scoured the neighborhood for days, is now fighting to get her dog back.
While she does admit she was clueless when it came to ACC and the organization’s relationship with the city to rescue, shelter and get dogs adopted, Jones says their 72-hour hold rule is unfair and needs to be changed.
“How is that enough time to find anything in this city?” she said. “It’s a very big city.”
Jones also places blame on an NYPD officer who misled her while she was searching for Latte.
“I think we could’ve found Latte way way before that if that police officer had been able to tell me exactly where I should’ve looked for my dog.”
Officials with Animal Care Centers of NYC say the mix up is very unfortunate but maintain they followed the rules.
A microchip — or even a collar with a tag — in this case would’ve resulted in a completely different outcome.
If Latte had been paired with a microchip, an ACCNYC spokesperson explained, workers would’ve implemented a 10-day hold on the dog, giving Jones more than enough time to get her back.
“Making sure you have dog licenses, ID tags with phone numbers, people you could contact, microchips — all of these things are vital to [finding] animals especially in the city,” Viola said.
As far Jones is concerned, she hopes Latte’s new adopted family does the right thing.
“She wasnt abandoned, she wasnt a stray she just lost her way home,” she said.
Since adoption applications are legally binding in New York, there is nothing ACC can do to reunite Jones and the dog. The family who now has Latte, would have to give her up.