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Letter to the editor

Campus urged to change policies on stray or lost pets

March 21, 2013

On March 8, I found a dog running outside of McMillan Hall on campus. The dog saw me and came running up to me with his tail wagging. He had no collar, and later was found to have no microchip. He was a lab/pit bull mix and was a reddish brown color with white markings on his face, belly and paws. He was obviously someone’s beloved pet. I was not about to leave him there, so I decided to take him to the University Police to see if they could help me.

I walked in, and instantly a police officer started to take an attitude toward me. Turns out that the hall staff of McMillan had called earlier that morning about the dog and were instructed to just let him go. I asked the police officer if there was anything they could do, or what they suggested I do with the dog. The officer told me that I took the time to bring the dog to them and that he was now my responsibility and they couldn’t do anything for me. I asked if they had the Humane Society or city police’s number. The officer would not give the phone numbers to me and simply said I should just let the dog loose.

I was astounded by this; by this time it was nearly by this time it was nearly 8:00 a.m., students were starting to walk to classes, and this dog was lost and scared, not to mention it is winter in Wisconsin so the high for that day was 32 degrees. I called the city police, and they also told me the same thing. I had no choice but to let the dog go, but he followed me all the way to work. One of my co-workers put a leash on the dog and put the dog in his car. We were forced to turn him over to the Humane Society.

After posting flyers, I was getting discouraged after three days and not one single phone call. On March 11, a woman called me and said she had seen my posting on the Lost Dog of Wisconsin website, and that she thinks I found her mother’s dog. After having her describe the dog to me, I knew it was him. She started crying and seemed so happy and relieved to have found the dog. The woman and her mom went to the Humane Society the next day and picked up the dog (who got the nickname Mic due to where he was found).

While this story has a happy ending, it makes me think of how many more lost dogs in River Falls won’t have this ending. Something drastic needs to be changed about the way this campus and city deals with stray or lost pets.

Katie La Count
Student, UW-River Falls