Owner Has Change of Heart After Taking Dog to Shelter, Seeks to Get Him Back

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Debbie Van Buren is hoping to get Max back from the shelter.

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.

11 thoughts on “Owner Has Change of Heart After Taking Dog to Shelter, Seeks to Get Him Back”

  1. I think they should give him back, with conditions…. Make her bring in a behavioralist ( a board certified one) to work with both dogs. I dont think keeping them seperate is realistic, but i do feels she should be able to have him back.

  2. Max would be better off as an only dog. The former owner surrendered him and completed a legal tranfer of ownership to the rescue organization. Its likely BS that she didn’t understand. Surrender documents are generally very, very clear. If you love your dog, lady, let go – and let him find a more appropriate home. To the rescue organization: good for you for standing your ground. The rescue organization I volunteer with would do exactly the same thing.

  3. So how many times does Buster the beagle get stitches before something is done? People seem to feel sorry for the owner and Max. What about Buster? I work at a vet clinic and have seen dogs come in multiple times fir being attacked by the same house mate. It’s not fair to the attack victim to have to live in that situation. The owner saying she can keep them separated isnt being realistic. They need to be split up. Good job to the shelter for not returning the dog.

  4. After working at a different shelter and seeing this situation before I would say the shelter is within it’s rights to keep the dog. The owner surrendered the dog and signed the contract (paperwork). I would hazard to guess that the shelter intake person explained to her that the surrender was permanent and she was signing off all rights to the dog.

    It’s not fair to the injured dog to bring back the aggressor. What happens next time? Does the Beagle pay with it’s life?

  5. Doesn’t matter that she “didn’t fully understand the paperwork she was signing.”
    Excuse me, your SURRENDERING your dog lady. What do you need to understand?

    If she really cared about Max she would be happy that he will be placed in a home where he will be the only dog.

    Glad the shelter is standing their guns. She just needs to go home and enjoy Buster and her “other three dogs and cats.” She sounds like a king woman, but she needs to think realistic here.


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