Lily
Lily (Courtesy photo)
REDLANDS -- The rescue agency in Oregon that adopted a 1-year-old American pit bull terrier named Lily and her seven pups are the legal owners of the dog, according to the city.

The city made the announcement on the Animal Shelter's Facebook page Tuesday: "Thank you for your concerns regarding Lily. While we understand that this has been an emotional issue for the various parties involved and many of the friends of the Animal Shelter, the city is satisfied that the adoption process for Lily and her puppies was properly followed according to city code and state law, and the dogs legally belong to the rescue agency that adopted them.

"Any decisions about the dogs at this point are completely at the discretion of the rescue agency."

After the announcement was made, several shared the update on their respective Facebook profiles, and some commented on other rescue networks their opinions on the matter.

Those at the rescue were satisfied with the news, while those in the corner of the Redlands woman who claimed the dog was hers - Denise Samano - were upset with the news.

"I'm extremely satisfied (with the outcome)," said Alexandra Mendel, a volunteer with the Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals, or REDFOSA. "I am very happy that Lily is going to go on to a beautiful life - her and her puppies. She will never have to go through the things she went through again."

Mendel said she hopes that the shelter better informs its employees about the law in the hopes a similar situation does not arise again.

Mendel said she is worried the situation made the shelter look bad and that it may have hurt its reputation with other rescue groups.

Samano, who claimed the dog was hers after it spent several days at the shelter, said she was disappointed with the outcome. But she remains hopeful that she can work out a deal with the rescue group to get her dog back.

She said several tries to work out a deal to recover her dog - whom she had named Beauty, and who went missing on Nov. 29 - fell through.

One condition asked Samano to have the dog altered before a reunion and after the puppies were old enough. Samano said she agreed to it, but the rescue reneged.

"The whole point was just to get her back. Everything they said I agreed to. I just wanted her back, and I told them they could keep the puppies," she said.

Samano said she has no plans to pursue legal action against the shelter or the rescue.

"When an owner finds their dog, they should get it back," she said. "It's just sad, really sad. I'm not going to do anything else; it is just too much on the family.

"I need to move on."

The dog was found roaming the streets in early December and was brought to the shelter to wait for her owner to claim her.

The dog had no microchip or collar when she arrived, but Samano said she was last seen wearing a blue collar.

After a waiting period intended to let the owner claimed the dog, shelter volunteers worked to find someone to adopt the pregnant dog and care for her pups.

A rescue group in Oregon - which asked not to be identified - stepped up, but needed $500 to pay for transport and to further care for the dog and her litter.

Volunteers with REDFOSA raise enough money to send the animal to Oregon.

The dog - which the shelter staff called Lily - was placed in foster care so she could give birth in a less stressful environment.

Lily had a litter of 10, but one was stillborn and two others died a short time later.

Samano was notified by a friend who had seen the dog on Facebook that her dog may have been found, and she said she contacted the shelter - by phone and social media - soon after.


Reach Kristina via email, or call her at 909-793-3221, or find her on Twitter @TheFactsKris.