Debbie Van Buren surrendered her Jack Russell terrier, Max, to the shelter in Wright, New York, but now she wants him back.
Max lived with Van Buren, three other dogs and three cats. Buster, a kind-hearted Beagle, was at times the unfortunate target for Max’s jealous tendencies. Van Buren said that although Max is a sweet and loving dog, he would become jealous when Buster got near Van Buren.
The most recent attack required a visit to the veterinarian and some stitches for Buster. Van Buren had had enough.
She describes her decision to take Max to the shelter as rash and emotional – and something she regretted within hours.
Now, she wants Max back.
The shelter, however, is standing by their decision not to return Max to Van Buren. They believe they can find a more appropriate home for Max, one in which he can be the only dog.
Shelter manager Kerrie Colin said, “It’s not fair to return a dog to somebody if doing so would impact the health of another dog in the house. We have to look at it for the safety of both animals involved.”
At the time of Max’s surrender, Van Buren signed paperwork that made it clear that she was relinquishing ownership, and detailed that her decision was permanent.
The Board of Directors is backing the shelter’s decision not to return Max to Van Buren.
“There’s no way we’re going to give back that dog,” said Alan Rubin, the board’s president. “She brought it to us and signed the papers. That dog is now ours. That dog will go to a good home.”
Van Buren maintains that she was upset at the time she surrendered Max, and did not fully understand the paperwork she was signing.
Van Buren has indicated that she is wiling to renovate her home to ensure that Max and Buster can be kept separated to avoid future attacks, but the shelter says that scenario is not ideal and that it would be impossible to keep the dogs apart forever.