February 14th, 2019
On January 7th, 2019, we were notified by Bogart's adopter that he had bitten their neighbor's daughter. Based on this contact, we responded accordingly to the adopter on the same day advising that we did not have a foster or space available to take Bogart back and would work on finding a new foster/home for him. After multiple correspondences with the adopter via email, we were working to come to an agreement by February 14th so all parties could move forward. However, on February 12th, we received an email from one of our partners regarding a customer complaint about this matter. Based on the numerous false statements by the customer, we have decided that there would be no settlement as they have committed a libelous act against CPAH. Below, we have provided the email from one of our rescue partners and our formal response to them. Our responses to each acquisition is in red.
Responses to email received from dated 2/12/2019 from our rescue partner:
I was recently notified of a customer complaint regarding a dog that was adopted from your organization by one of our customers.
CPAH Response: The dog in question is named Bogart, adopted by on 12/14/2018. Prior to that, the adopter and his family were given two 7-day trial periods. CPAH cannot attest to neither him or a member of his family being a customer of said store.
The customer stated that three days after the adoption the dog bit their 9 year old neighbor.
CPAH Response: This is a false statement by your customer. Bogart was adopted on 12/14/2018 and the bite occurred on 1/7/2019. The adopter's wife has also stated in several voicemails left for Erica the day after the bite and to Kyle on the phone that Bogart was in their home for less than 30 days. This is also a false statement made by the adopter's family given that they had 2 trials that began on 12/2/2018.
Note: The neighbor’s child that was bitten was 8 years old as indicated to CPAH by the adopter While this may seem irrelevant, it shows that there is continual mis-information being given by your customer.
The child needed stitches and was sent to the ER. The new adopter became very concerned because she has children of her own, leading her to the decision of a bite surrender to the local shelter. She states that she then contacted your organization to pick up the dog from the shelter.
CPAH Response: The adopter's wife contacted CPAH via text on 1/8/2019 at 10:31 AM via text “insisting that we send a volunteer to come pick up Bogart.” Please see the response below that supports contact by CPAH to the adopter's wife via phone on 1/8/2019 at 10:44 AM CST. Note: Bogart was not at a shelter at the time of this call.
According to her there was no response from your organization, to either her or the shelter.
CPAH Response: Inaccurate statement made by your customer. CPAH was notified via text by the adopter on 1/7/2019 at 6:33 PM CST. Our former foster responded to the adopter first at 7:11 PM stating that she was sorry and was “headed to dinner with her cousin and Erica will need to handle”. Erica responded to the adopter via text at 8:09 PM CST on the same day stating that CPAH did not have available foster or space for him at the time. No response was provided to Erica by the adopter after her contact with him (see message below).
The following day 1/8/2019, the adopter's wife made repeated calls to Erica at the following times:
10:20 AM (From Unknown Caller ID)
10:29 AM (From Unknown Caller ID)
The fact that adopter's wife made multiple calls borderline to harassment, she did not consider that Erica was driving to work nor that she had to open our business and take care of customers during those times. Erica could not simply drop what she was doing, and answer adopter's wife's calls just because that’s what she expected. We sympathize with the the adopter and their neighbor due to this unfortunate biting incident while under the adopter's wife's supervision. Her expectation and irrational behavior were not going to make the situation any better. Never was it taken into consideration that Erica has duties for the store we run or that Kyle has a full-time position that doesn’t allow him to simply respond immediately to any call.
On the same day at 10:44 AM, Kyle contacted the adopter's wife via phone to speak with her regarding the situation. The adopter's wife's proceeded to be hostile towards him on this call stating that we must pick up “the dog” and “your dog” now. He reiterated to her that we did not have a foster available nor could Bogart be brought to our home due to limitations by the city and that CPAH was working to find a foster. The adopter's wife stated that animal control was on their way to pick up the dog, which is to be expected after a bite incident and that they would be in contact with us. As stated previously, CPAH never received any call from an animal shelter, another rescue or animal control regarding Bogart. Her behavior, supported by the voicemails that she left, show that she was acting irrationally given the situation. Had CPAH had the available resources, we would have immediately picked up Bogart. It should also be noted that the foster who vetted the the adopter's family prior to Bogart’s adoption was transitioning out of CPAH to another rescue and stated she could not take Bogart back to her home. CPAH finds this statement rather ironic considering Bogart was put into the general population at Collin County Animal Services and is once again being fostered for the rescue she is currently with. We believe that this complaint by your customer, whom we believe to be the adopter's is an attempt to defame CPAH’s reputation and character with our partner in some attempt that your company would not partner with us. Several comments made by the adopter and his wife on the phone and through emails support this, however, your customers’ claims are inaccurate as shown in our responses.
CPAH has asked for a copy of the animal control report that was filed due to the neighbor’s daughter being taken to urgent care after the bite. We have not received any report and have only been told that the bite was “unprovoked.” Having had Bogart in our home for several days prior to transitioning to the foster's home to foster, we saw no signs of aggression from Bogart towards our 6 and 7-year-old daughters. They knew that if he, or any dog, gave warning signs such as growling, showing teeth or any snipping they were to leave the dog alone. Based on the adopters stating that their daughter was snipped at several times during the trial periods even after Erica advised that their daughter and Bogart should not be left unsupervised at any time, the adopters did not heed those warnings since they left their daughter alone with Bogart who snipped at her. When we were advised of the second snipping on 12/23/2018 via text from the adopter Erica reached out to the adopter directly who stated that “he was in the other room when he heard it” and that “he told his wife we need to give him one more chance” and that he “wanted the foster o be aware in case we needed to find him a new home”. Erica advised that he should be supervised by an adult to understand what is going on and to contact her directly going forward. No indications were made by the adopter that he wanted to return Bogart leading up to his biting their neighbor.
CPAH is unsure what “shelter” that your customer is referring to as we were never contacted by any shelter, any rescue or animal control. This is a false statement made by your customer.
CPAH was given less than 24 hours to find a new foster home for Bogart after the bite occurred. Essentially the adopter, particularly the adopter's wife was attempting to back us into a corner and force us to take Bogart into our personal home, which could not be done at the time.
Concerned for the dog's future and well being, she contacted a different rescue organization to pick up the dog.
Response: The second part of this sentence is an inaccurate statement and irrelevant to the matter. CPAH was never informed any rescues were contacted to surrender Bogart. The adopter's wife stated in a voice mail that she had placed several calls to her vet and if we were familiar with Operation Kindness or Susan McQuade (CPAH is unsure who this person is and why they were contacted). There were no indications that there was any attempt made by the adopter's wife to have another rescue pick up Bogart in her voice mails, only that “Animal Control was on their way and would be contacting us.”
The nature of the situation is a very concerning subject for us all. As stated in your rescue partner application to the question, "What is the process of an adoption failure and return?" your organization stated, "The adopter contacts a CPAH representative and we first attempt to address the problem by talking through it with them. If we are unable to resolve the issue, then the adopter will return the dog to a CPAH representative."
CPAH Response: Erica was contacted directly by the adopter via text on 1/7/2019 at 7:35 PM asking if she received his previous message to which Erica responded at 8:09 PM CST advising that we did not have an available foster or space for him to be returned at that moment. She additionally stated we would be working on trying to find him a foster and that he should also work to find a suitable home.
Our statement above that we provided is the ideal situation for any and all rescues, however, all parties should understand that if a CPAH representative is not available, we cannot simply just take any dog back immediately. As stated above, CPAH was given less than 24 hours to try to find a foster or new home for Bogart. This is an unrealistic expectation by the adopters for any rescue that is a foster home-based rescue with no facility to bring a dog.
We take all Rescue Partner and customer concerns seriously. We feel it is very important to investigate all sides of any incident or situation. Can you please give us your perspective on this matter and your official statement regarding adoption failures, per your adoption contract?
While I was investigating the bite incident the following Rescue Partner Agreement violations were also brought to my attention:
Group cancelled several adoption events within 24 hours of adoption event days.
Group did not follow proper cancellation protocol by emailing the store manager and store location, giving 48 hour notice.
Concerns that dog food donations were potentially being used for personal pets not under current care of Group.
Donations are not guaranteed to one single group and are subject to manager approval, supply and demand at each location.
As policies state in our Rescue Partners Agreement:
To give 48 hours advance notice if cancelling an adoption event, by written email notice to the store manager and store location.
Upon accepting donations and signing this agreement, Group agrees to use the donations provided solely for animals in the current and direct care of Group.
Donations are subject to supply and regulation of the location manager and/or corporate personnel.
CPAH Response: As stated previously via email, we do not use any donated items from for our personal animals. Our personal dogs are on a raw diet that we purchase from a different store. The insinuation from any “customer” or former foster/volunteer of this is a libelous act against our rescues as well as Erica and Kyle personally. Based on our own research, we have determined that several times during events at that our former foster, picked through the donations prior to a CPAH approved representative signing off on the donations and took food and supplies. Whether this was for the animals she was fostering for us or her personal animals, we cannot state that. It should also be noted that multiple times we have not taken any donations leaving them for another rescue.
CPAH does agree that we have had to cancel events within 24 hours of the event. Family sickness, being called into work unexpectedly, uncommitted fosters, lack of volunteers, and having no dogs to bring to an event has caused such to occur. We have diligently tried to cancel prior to 48 hours but at times, this is not possible to do. At all times, we spoke with a representative who was okay with the cancellation. Given that we had to cancel two months in a row another location, we were taken off the rotation to make room for another rescue which we were in agreement with and planned to cancel permanently going forward due to volunteer shortage.
We have a deep passion to support rescue efforts and greatly appreciate the support you give to animals in need. We consider it's Rescue Partners as an extension of our company. We must be confident that the rescues we are supporting have all parties' safety and best interest at mind. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
CPAH Response: CPAH was founded as a family ran rescue with one mission, to better the lives of animals in our community. We do this by partnering with local companies and companies that meet our vision of biologically appropriate food for our rescued animals. CPAH has never, nor will we ever, act in a manner that is deceptive or puts any human or animal in danger. It is an unfortunate incident that occurred with Bogart after he was adopted by the the adopters, however, CPAH did in fact engage them after the bite occurred. Negligence and failure to control Bogart by the adopter resulted in Bogart biting their neighbors’ daughter, which CPAH is sympathetic to as we do not ever want one of our rescued animals, whether in foster care or adopted to cause any harm. CPAH will not tolerate or stand by while people or corporations attempt to defame our character or reputation or willingly provide false information to anyone about what has transpired. We are transparent, family run rescue, that loves rescuing animals and finding them their forever homes and we will continue to stand together during this time of unwanted attacks from your customer and our former foster/volunteer.
CPAH believes that this libelous act is due to a former foster/volunteer's vengeance for a situation that occurred prior to Bogart's bite incident. This situation occurred when the foster contacted us that she had to take her personal dog and our foster, Stein, to the vet to have their stomach's pumped. This was the result of her negligent act of leaving a bowl of grapes within reach of her personal dog while she went to take a shower. Her personal dog knocked over the bowl and both dogs ate the poisonous grapes (video evidence was provided). Her expectation was that CPAH should refund her $330 for Stein's medical care. CPAH feels that no refund is necessary since it was due to her negligence that caused the incident to occur and put our rescue and her dog in harm's way. We asked the foster if she would like us to post this on Facebook for donations to assist with the medical expenses for Stein, but were told that she "didn't want the judgement of others." Therefore, no post for donations was made per her request to save face. It was not until after we posted a donation request to assist with another animal's medical expenses, that she changed her mind. At that point, it was too late to request donations to help offset her expenses for Stein caused by her negligence. It is rather telling that our former foster is also the one who vetted the adopters and deemed them worthy to adopt Bogart, even pushing for a second trial period since the adopter was out of town for most of the first trial. Even more telling is that Bogart is now back in this fosters' care with another rescue. Now, we are faced with false statements being made to our partner that could cause us to no longer be considered a reputable rescue.
We founded CPAH in 2015 with a simple mission: Better the lives of animals in our community. Short and sweet, with a clear focus on the animals and their well-being and finding their furever homes. Over the past year, we feel the focus has begun to drift away from what we founded this rescue on with more focus being placed on fosters, or individuality, which will change in 2019.
We have put our time and energy into our rescue and it is disappointing when any foster cannot see past themselves, their self-righteousness, lack of accountability and responsibility for an animal in their care. It becomes disheartening when a foster holds a rescue responsible for such endangerment by expecting reimbursement for harming a CPAH rescued animal. We created CPAH to be a camaraderie of people with the same beliefs and will no longer tolerate negativity, gossip or false accusations about our practices. We have begun to make positive changes by becoming #leanandmean; cutting the negative and excess in 2019.
We don’t expect everyone to understand the undertaking and sacrifice of owning a rescue. It without question takes its toll on everything, but we expect the best people to take care of our rescued furry friends and not try to bogart the attention for themselves. Vice Admiral James Stockdale, a P.O.W. who became the highest-ranking officer at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” (the late Senator John McCain was there with him) created the coding for his fellow P.O.W.s: BACK US, or Unity over Self. CPAH is not about oneself and when you become part of our rescue, either through volunteering, fostering and/or adopting, you become part of our family. We will never let our family and our reputation be compromised. We will stand up together, we will stand strong, as a Pack!