Dog taken by rescue; shelter refuses owner’s attempt to claim

Heather Calcote says Animal control refused to allow her to reclaim her dog Beauty, because a rescue organization arrived early.
Heather Calcote says Animal control refused to allow her to reclaim her dog Beauty, because a rescue organization got there two days early. (submitted photo)

A Chaunceytown Road woman tried to get her dogs back from Animal Control Wednesday, but was told the dogs had already been released to a dog rescue – two days earlier than she was led to believe.

Heather Calcote said Beauty, her four-year-old German shepherd, often wanders the neighborhood. 

“The neighbors let me know where she is,” Calcote said. “She doesn’t bother anybody.” 

Beauty went on a walkabout Nov. 3, Calcote said, with her three 11-week-old puppies. Calcote began to worry when she hadn’t seen the mother and her litter, and began asking around.

“Like I have done before,” she said, “I put it on the Lake Waccamaw Facebook page that Beauty was missing. Somebody contacted me and said they thought she had been picked up and was at Animal Control.”

Calcote exchanged Facebook messages with Animal Control, and contacted them by telephone Wednesday.

When Calcote called Animal Control Wednesday, the person answering the phone said she “wasn’t 100 percent sure Beauty and the puppies were there,” although there was a German shepherd with a collar that matched Beauty. Colcote said she was told the dogs had been picked up Friday in the Council area, miles from her home.

“I don’t know how they got that far,” she said. “It’s a long way to wander.”

Colcote said she asked how to retrieve her dog, and was told that she would have to pay the adoption fee, since Beauty had been to a veterinarian Tuesday and received her vaccinations.

“I was willing to do that,” Calcote said. She sent Animal control a photo of the dog, and the worker confirmed that it was indeed Beauty.

Then, Calcote said, she was told she probably couldn’t get the dogs back, since they had been promised to a rescue, and pickup was scheduled for this Friday.

“I called my babysitter,” Calcote said, “and was going to head right into town and take care of it. She was already in Whiteville, though, and she went by to check on Beauty for me. The woman who answered the door wouldn’t let her inside.”

The shelter employee also told the babysitter that Beauty had been picked up by German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption.

“They told me that sometimes the rescues come early,” Calcote said. “I was willing to pay for my dog, but they got rid of her to someone else. I couldn’t even find out for sure if it was my dog. That’s just wrong.”

County policy says dogs and cats must be held for 72 hours for possible reuniting with their owners. Pets that are strays or unclaimed can be disposed of at any time. Calcote said she did not know how her dog ended up at the shelter, and was not offered an explanation by the shelter employee.

Beauty on her first day as a member of the Calcote family, four years ago. (Submitted photo)

Beauty has been with the family since she was a puppy, Calcote said, a constant companion to her four children.

“I just want my dog back,” she said. “It’s not right that they can go against their own rules this way.”

Calcote said she still doesn’t know what has become of her puppies.
“I’m still trying to find out what happened to them,” she said. “If I could get in the shelter, I could at least see if they had them.”

Animal Control Director Loretta Shipman, County Attorney Amanda Prince and County Manager Mike Stephens did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

About Jefferson Weaver 2168 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].


  1. I believe a honest person or persons would return the dog to her rightful owner…I believe this has happened before wit a border collie type dog…

  2. Is every department in Columbus county crooked or worthless. This is such a petty thing where the
    RIGHT thing could be handled with a phone call. Columbus county sure doesn’t care about its image and reputation.

Comments are closed.