Shelter Coordinator Arrested for Refusing to Return Dog

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9.15.14 - arrested1

A report from the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department states Debbie Kern of Patriots for Pets Rescue and Shelter was ordered by a judge to turn a dog over to the sheriff’s office for a return to her family. Her refusal to do so has landed her in jail.

Kern would not release the nine-month-old shepherd mix to the department as directed, so the same judge ordered Kern arrested, and held without bail or bond until the return order was carried out.

As of Monday evening, Kern was released from jail, and the dog has been returned as ordered.  Kern may be happy to no longer be locked up, but the situation is fr from ideal.

Kern and Patriots for Pets are claiming that the dog was abused.  A statement on the rescue group’s Facebook page was sent to a local news outlet stating that the “owner” had abandoned the dog for three to four weeks at his ex-wife’s home.

“We were contacted and got in touch with the ex-wife,” Patriots for Pets said in the statement.  “She gave the dog back to Patriots yesterday.  The dog was placed in a safe place and Debbie refused to release the dog upon order of the court.”

Even though the court decision was aimed at Patriots for Pets and not Kern directly, she was held responsible for the refusal to return the dog.  A hearing is set for October the 7th according to official documents.

“Request was made to the judge to put the dog in protective custody until the hearing and Debbie offered to personally pay for it. The judge refused,” the statement from Patriots for Pets said.

Another message to news outlets from the Patriots for Pets Facebook page said, “This is Debbie.  I was released when the dog was turned over to the sheriff.  Patriots will have a full statement tomorrow after consulting with legal counsel.”

69 thoughts on “Shelter Coordinator Arrested for Refusing to Return Dog”

  1. What in God’s name is wrong with our world – the shelter coordinator did the right thing!!! Another proof that if the right thing is done one gets arrested and those who do the wrong thing get a pat on their shoulder. What the flip….

  2. I am not surprised, I always expect the worst when it comes to what’s right or wrong! Regardless of who was suppose to do what with the dog, it wasn’t being taken care. Someone has to stand up for those that can not defend or take care of themselves! Untillllllllll, humans are punished accordingly for mistreatment or abuse towards animals, somebody has to stand up for them!!! Remember WE are suppose to be the voice of reason, I question who is more intelligent the human with a voice or the animals that have proved to be far more loyal than any HUMAN!

  3. The article states that the woman was to be held without bail or bond until the dog was returned. Excuse me if I am wrong, and please tell me if I am, but I believe that denial of bond is illegal, except in capital cases, or the person presents a genuine flight risk. I rather suspect that a contempt citation was issued.

    A similar case has happened in Ohio, involving a Shetland Sheepdog named Piper. Piper was left with a family while her owner went away for a holiday weekend. She escaped and was picked up by animal control on a Friday. Because of the holiday, the shelter was closed for the weekend. Piper was micro-chipped, but her owner was never called. Instead, a sheltie rescue group was called, and they took the dog. Piper is a rare, bi-colored black and white sheltie show dog. The owner went to the animal control facility on Monday, but Piper was already gone. They contacted the rescue, but they refused to return the dog, citing abandonment. This led to a court case, and Piper’s owner spent close to $100,000 in legal fees to get her dog back. How much money has that rescue spent? Money that could have been used to find homes for many dogs, rather than fighting to keep one that already had a home. Piper is now home, but the rescue has filed an appeal.

  4. Always err on the side of what is best for the animal and what is common sense, and NOT on the lame and often deceptive defense of the pet owner. What a waste of time on all counts and so unnecessary. And why not look at the forest for the trees for a change? How many animals are languishing in shelters or are abandoned everywhere, and here is this good Samaritan trusting her gut instincts on the treatment of this animal. Where is the common sense in the judicial system? It took the last train for the coast, as the song goes….

  5. So an animal rescue shelter employee is arrested and charged right away – but a clerk in another state who was sworn into office and paid paid for by tax dollars is still employed?…

  6. Sometimes people in pet rescues overstep and act crazy. We don’t know what the real facts are but she should have given the dog back.

    • If you think you can do it better, then start your own Rescue and run it and put up with this kind of crap. You’ll change your tune unless you really don’t care what happens to the pet entrusted to you. How about people either follow the contract or go elsewhere. Better yet don’t get a pet if you won’t take care of it properly, it makes lots of problems for others when you don’t follow the contract.


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