Riley

Riley, a golden retriever, has a new home, which upset her former owner Destiny Jones who said the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter “unlawfully” adopted him off to new owners.

The Manhattan city government’s animal shelter is defending itself against claims by a woman that the shelter “unlawfully” gave her golden retriever, Riley, a new home.

“We did everything right legally,” said Deb Watkins, director of the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter. “We got the dog in on the 3rd of February and it was adopted on the 10th of February.”

Destiny Jones on Wednesday pleaded for the new owners to give Riley back. She said she would pay the new owners back the adoption fees. Jones said in a Facebook post that she thinks the animal shelter “unrightfully adopted” her dog out.

“His name is Riley, he was taken in as a stray,” she wrote. “Once I got told where he was, I went to get him. They said they tried contacting me, but they never did.”

“I am begging for my daughter and (my) best friend back,” she wrote. “Just please, I want him back.”

Jones, whose Facebook account indicates she lives in Junction City, did not respond to several attempts by The Mercury to reach her.

Animal control officers responded to a report of a loose dog at a Kwik Shop in Manhattan Feb. 3, city officials say. Officers picked up an adult male golden retriever and took him to the shelter. The dog has a microchip so animal shelter staffers made several attempts to contact the two phone numbers associated with it, Watkins said. No one answered repeated calls, and the animal shelter could not leave a voicemail as that function was unavailable, officials said.

Animals become property of the Manhattan city government after three days in the shelter, according to a city ordinance. After that time expired, the shelter put the dog up for adoption. The shelter posted Riley’s picture to the shelter’s Facebook page on Feb. 4, but no one claimed the dog.

“We feel really good about rehoming animals when their owners do not come to claim them,” Watkins said.

She said the shelter was not aware of any reports of a lost dog, nor did it receive any inquiries about the dog.

Watkins said new owners adopted the dog Feb. 10. She declined to identify the new owners, but said, “We feel very comfortable that the new adopters are taking really good care of this dog.”

Watkins said a woman claiming to be the dog’s owner called the animal shelter for the first time Wednesday. Watkins said shelter officials explained that the dog had been adopted out and why; that’s when Jones took to Facebook with her appeal. She also said the shelter was lying and that the shelter never tried contacting her.

That appeal sparked a response by the shelter’s Facebook page, which itself garnered more than 600 comments.

Watkins encouraged people to update their pet’s microchip to avoid this sort of situation.