“I was denied adopting my own dog”

Tyler Clarke
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Just because the Prince Albert SPCA finds your lost pet doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ever going to see him or her again.


This is the lesson that area resident Linda Boyer learned after finding a dog she believes to be her golden retriever re-named and shipped to Vancouver Island.

“I was denied adopting my own dog,” she said. “The way I was treated, it was like I was a dog abuser or something, and that’s not the case.”

Although she recognizes that she made a mistake in the days that followed the disappearance of her golden retriever, she believes that it’s a problem with SPCA policies that prevented her from getting Eddie back.

Boyer adopted Eddie about six years ago when the then four-year-old dog found himself too cramped in a small apartment.

Her acreage a few kilometres north of Prince Albert proved more ideal for the large dog, where he “was free to run all over the acreage.”

“He’d go to the lake, he’d go swimming,” Boyer said. “He’d go quading with us and he’d jump on the quad when he was tired.

“He was just a lovable dog -- he is a loveable dog.”

On either Dec. 13 or Dec. 14, Eddie went missing.

“I phoned the dog catcher in the RM on, I believe it was the 16th, to see if he’d picked up the dog,” Boyer said, adding that she assumed the RM linked missing dog reports with the Prince Albert SPCA  -- an assumption Prince Albert SPCA assistant manager Leanne Roberts later clarified is false.

At this time, Boyer also posted an advertisement on Kijiji and began daily visits to the Prince Albert SPCA website.

On either Dec. 20 or Dec. 21, Boyer received an email from someone responding to her Kijiji ad claiming that they’d seen Eddie at the Prince Albert SPCA.

“I couldn’t fathom that being Ed. Why would he travel five miles south and cross the bridge?” Boyer asked.

Regardless, she went to the Prince Albert SPCA with her granddaughter, Teegan, to see whether the dog was Eddie.

This, she said, is where the frustration began.

A dog who met Eddie’s description was in the care of a foster family and the Prince Albert SPCA did not have a photo of him to show Boyer.

“They told us the only way to see a picture of him was to fill out an adoption form,” Boyer said -- an application that was later denied.

Roberts said that due to confidentiality issues she’s unable to say why Boyer’s application was denied.

It wasn’t until Jan. 8 -- about 18 days later -- that Boyer was finally provided a picture of the golden retriever under the care of the Prince Albert SPCA.

Still not allowed to see Eddie, Boyer and her family were left studying the photo, uncertain as to whether it was him.

“His snout looks longer,” daughter Melanie said, re-examining the photo on Friday.

“His tail looks clipped,” Boyer added.

“He looks so thin,” granddaughter Teegan offered.

On Jan. 11, despite Boyer’s continued questions about the dog, the Prince Albert SPCA sent her an email stating the golden retriever “Ted” was no longer in their care and was on his way to his new “forever home” in southern Saskatchewan.

“Well, glad to hear this dog got a good home,” Boyer responded by email to the SPCA. “Based on the picture, my adult children don’t believe this is Ed so we are still looking.”

On Jan. 21, Boyer believes that she found Eddie.

He was featured on the Prince Albert SPCA’s Facebook page being loaded into a crate on his way to Vancouver Island along with another dog named Oz, “to start the next chapter of their lives.”

Although uncertain of the photo she was provided on Jan 8, Boyer said that she’s “100 per cent” that this dog was hers.

This golden retriever, re-named Ted, was picked up by city bylaw on Dec. 14, Roberts said -- the same approximate time in which Eddie went missing north of the city. This same dog was featured in the photo provided to Boyer on Jan. 8, Roberts added.

The Jan. 11 adoption didn’t pan out, Roberts explained, noting that the prospective owners “decided he was too big. He was bigger than a typical retriever -- he was over 80 pounds.”

I’m sure some people have gone through the same things that I have but haven’t said anything about it, and I just want it to become public knowledge, the way things are operating there. Linda Boyer

Looking back on how things panned out, Boyer said that there’s an obvious gap in Prince Albert SPCA policy when it comes to reuniting pets with their owners.

Even though the Prince Albert SPCA knew since Dec. 21 that Boyer was missing a dog that met the description of one they had in foster care, it wasn’t until Jan. 8 that Boyer was provided a photo of the dog.

She was never allowed to see him in person.

“She couldn’t see the dog because her application was denied,” Roberts explained.

“Dogs who are in foster homes, we’re not going to interrupt the foster home with every Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to see a dog that’s in a foster home.

“You have to have an approved application before you can disturb a foster home. These are all people who work, who have lives outside of fostering and Ted’s foster home was actually a nurse so she does a lot of shift work, so we work around their schedules if they’re nice enough to foster dogs from us.”

As the fact that Boyer wasn’t even given a photo of the dog in question, Roberts explained, “Taking pictures of them is not a priority. We would hope that when people lose a pet they would have the common sense to phone the SPCA as soon as it goes missing.”

Dogs and cats can legally become SPCA property after they’ve been missing for 72 hours, Roberts clarified, indicating that by then, Eddie, now Ted, was theirs.

However, pets “can go into foster care prior to that, dependent on space, dependent on their condition -- how they’re doing here at the centre,” Roberts said.

“Legally, we can’t adopt them out, transfer them out, etc., for 72 hours, but absolutely they can go into foster homes.”

As Roberts clarified, taking photos is not a priority and pulling pets out of foster homes depends on the schedule of the person doing the fostering.

Not only that, but whether a pet is pulled out of a foster home is dependent on whether the adoption application passes.

Boyers’ mistaken assumption that the RM of Buckland would link her missing dog report up with the SPCA was her self-admitted mistake.

Although the RM of Buckland did not return a message placed on Friday afternoon, Roberts said that the SPCA has asked them “on several occasions” to call them if a dog ends up in their pound, but that this stream of communications has never been made.

There isn’t a line of communication between SPCAs in the province either, Roberts said, noting that this is something the local organization has been advocating for.

In addition to calling the Prince Albert SPCA within 72 hours of a pet going missing, Roberts encourages people to get their pets tagged and micro chipped.

“We had a dog come in last week who was micro chipped, we scanned it, the owner was here within 20 minutes -- literally,” Roberts said. “I don’t know why people don’t have IDs for their animals, or fenced yards to keep them in.”

After sitting on her frustration for a few days, Boyer contacted the Daily Herald on Friday to share her story.

“I think there has to be some changes,” she explained. “I’m sure some people have gone through the same things that I have but haven’t said anything about it, and I just want it to become public knowledge, the way things are operating there.”

An inability to see a dog that met her missing dog’s description, or even a photo of the dog for more than two weeks “was huge,” she said.

“I can just hope that he’s in a good family, but I just don’t want it to happen to anybody else,” Boyer said.

“I just think they have to be responsible and answer to the public.”

Organizations: Daily Herald

Geographic location: Vancouver Island, Southern Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • SPCAsupport!
    January 28, 2014 - 12:24

    To everyone saying that Leanna has no compassion and that she shouldnt be heading the PA SPCA is completely and in every way WRONG! She loves and cares for every single one of the animals that passes through her care, AND i have seen her give owners their pets back even when she felt as if they were not caring for the animal because she knew that it was the owners right. But in this case the dog had been rescued three time in as many weeks.. this dog was obviously NOT their "beloved family pet" because if he were he would not have been OUTSIDE in minus 30 weather for any given length of time.. this animal was NOT loved, was NOT taken care of and the owners did NOT deserve the love of this animal. If Leanne sent the dog to be adopted then i have full confidence that the family that this big lovable guy is going to will actually appreciate having him in their family and will take care of him in all the right ways. As for stopping the donations to the SPCA? Ummm hello.. if you want dogs and cats to not be euthenized then we NEED to donate, without the support of the public, places like the SPCA would not exist and animals would have no one to look out for them. The workers thre do not make any signifigant amount of money working there and most of the staff are volunteer members. The money you gives allows them to help more animals and for greater lentgths of time. If you truely do not want animals euthenized then Adopt,dont buy from a breeder.. Breeders are one of the main reasons for having shelters in the first place.. People buy these pure bred animals for the nostalgia of having one, then they decide they dont have enough time, the dog got too big, or they are moving to a place where its apparently illegal to own a pet... please people.. I have Two large dogs, Two cats a 2 1/2 yr old boy and a failry small house.. I have more than enough time and love for everyone and smaller spaces just means a cozier family.. If you want to make a difference for pets then keep donating, and educate others around you about what the real purpose of the SPCA is.. Its not to hear sob story after sob story about how you cant keep your dog from running away and then give you that animal back just so you can let it Run away again.. and then not look for it for days,, then say that its the SPCAs fault that you dont have your dog back.. you are lucky that dog is still alive and will be treated with love from here on in.. It is there job to make sure that these animals are in loving homes that will keep them safe.. If you dont get an animal.. there is a reason.. every single one of my animals is a rescue and even though we dont have a large house or an acreage, they still try to get us to take on more animals because they know that we would love that animal to no end.. they are looking for pet parents all the time.. and sometimes people will get declined because even though they want the animals to be adopted.. they wont just give any animal to any person without knowing if that family will take care of that animal.. to those of you that feel jaded because they got declined, ask leanne or one of the other girls why you were denied and see if there is any way to make them feel you are a suitable match ofr a pet.. if you really want an animal then you should expect to have to rearrange your life somewhat.. if you arent prepared to do that then dont bother trying to adopt..

    • blackete
      February 14, 2015 - 09:30

      Too long. Nobody has the time.

  • B. Annock
    January 27, 2014 - 13:21

    People freezing to death in the city. People dying in police cells. People being robbed and beaten. People missing...and THEN...one mutt gets lost and the city goes nuts!!! I guess the city is really going to the DOGS if u get my meaning.

  • Jay
    January 27, 2014 - 13:06

    I think the herald should do a follow up story to this and maybe ask the spca a few more questions... does the spca get money for these dogs they ship to BC? that dog was nice looking I cant see why someone local wouldn't have adopted it? is there a certain breed/type of dog they ship to BC?

    • Krista
      January 28, 2014 - 17:41

      NO! When rescues/SPCAs do rescue to rescue transfers there is no money paid for the dogs! I can't believe this! Do you have any idea how many BLACK MUTTS this rescue in BC has taken for the PA SPCA? New Hope Dog Rescue also helps out and takes transfers from the PA SPCA when it's full and they have fosters willing without MONEY trading hands! People volunteer to drive/fly these dogs as well, educate yourself!

  • Glen
    January 26, 2014 - 22:01

    Scary but doesn't surprise me about the SPCA. We attempted to adopt a medium sized dog a couple Of years ago and was denied as well. Said they didn't think our home was suitable nor were we suitable for taking care of a medium sized dog. So we found a rescue dog at a breeders. Picked her up and also managed to acquire a Great Dane. Both dogs are healthy and are enjoying our company. So it's unfortunate for the dog we were looking at. Hopefully it actually went to a good home. Their loss. We will find a dog somewhere else before going there. I think SPCA would rather see the animals destroyed before sending to a forever home. Just my opinion. Your not the only one.

  • otherside
    January 26, 2014 - 20:59

    I have been on the other side of a situation. I had to patiently wait to adopt until an SPCA made a decision about the fate of a dog they had in their care when the owners came forward and wanted their dog back. Without the public knowing the whole story we should never judge the difficult job the people in these positions have.

  • Annoyed
    January 26, 2014 - 20:22

    I feel sorry for the lady that lost her dog.But I also feel sorry for her dog ,If you can't get you dog tags or micro chipped that is your fault you should also have lots of photos of your pet just in case it goes missing that way you have a visual and not to depend on someone else taking a picture and showing you . Even if you live in a rural area your animal should be tagged you can go to your nearest pet shop or engraving place to put the name of the dog your name and also your phone number so if your dog goes missing they know who to contact.but I also think you waited to long in contacting the SPCA.

  • Annoyed
    January 26, 2014 - 20:21

    I feel sorry for the lady that lost her dog.But I also feel sorry for her dog ,If you can't get you dog tags or micro chipped that is your fault you should also have lots of photos of your pet just in case it goes missing that way you have a visual and not to depend on someone else taking a picture and showing you . Even if you live in a rural area your animal should be tagged you can go to your nearest pet shop or engraving place to put the name of the dog your name and also your phone number so if your dog goes missing they know who to contact.but I also think you waited to long in contacting the SPCA.

  • doggielady
    January 26, 2014 - 20:14

    Any dog can get lost once, twice possibly, three times and its completely the owners fault. The word is "losing" not loosing and this dog was not lost but simply not cared for. No dogs are to be "running free"at any time as this is not only against the law it is also poor animal husbandry. If you let your dog run free do you let your kids play on the hiway? Get real people. Take care of what is yours and stop expecting others to do so Leanne is an amazing caring person who sees horrible things every day that most could not endure. I for one will support the hard work and difficult decisions that are made every day by these wonderful people at the spca.

    • justaguy
      January 27, 2014 - 16:09

      how is letting a dog run free on an acerage like almost every acerage owner does, any relation to letting your kids play on a highway, That is the most idiot relation ive ever heard someone make.

  • Sheryl gamble
    January 26, 2014 - 17:25

    I think it is sad someone lost their pet and it seems like they could not do anything to get it back.....I think the policies should be looked at as they seem unfair. Ms. Roberts attitude seems to be rather harsh. Yes she probably sees and experiences not such great stuff....but isn't this the job she chose? I think she should look at her over attitude or maybe find another job!

  • Perry Bergson
    January 26, 2014 - 14:10

    EDITOR'S NOTE: If you wish to comment on this story, that's great. You can question the SPCA's policies, but I will not allow personal attacks on the SPCA staff, who do important work in this community. I recognize, as do they, that not every decision they make is going to earn them fans. But if you can't discuss this like adults, your comments will be deleted. If your comment is deleted and you are unhappy, I can be reached at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca or by calling 306-765-1302 on weekdays.

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 - 13:36

    I agree that mature decisions could have been made but every time I go to the PA SPCA the lady in charge there is rude to us, my mom especially. You can sense she doesn't like her at all. I don't agree with some of SPCAs policies because I've personally seen owners wanting their animals back but they had to buy them back and some people can't afford 300 for their family members. Sad that this happened.

  • George
    January 26, 2014 - 13:32

    I lost my farm dog years ago, we are 5 miles from the city. Sam was old, and many old dogs just "go off", never to be seen again. He never wandered off our farmyard. We looked for days for him. I called the PA SPCA, and left a voice message on the day he went missing (after hours) with a brief description. 1 week later, I got a call at 7 am on a sunday, that the PA SPCA might have my dog, that was picked up Sat. evening. I took a picture with me, and by 8 am, I had my dog back. He was so excited to see me. His one front paw had a cut, but he was okay. Somebody had found him uder a tree in their backyard in the city. We believed that someone had kidnapped him, as he was friendly, but we was too old to walk all the way to the city. One voice message was all that it took, to get my dog back.

  • dog lover
    January 26, 2014 - 12:55

    wow, that's all I can say. I would be pissed if that was one of my dogs. A dog is not just a pet it's a part of the family and for them to just rehome it. while knowing that this lady is looking for a dog that matches the description is just horrible. she tried to find her dog, her only mistake was thinking that 2 different agencies would communicate with each other. Why don't they have a main database that all these groups can access to enter pictures and info about the animals that have gone missing, that way everyone can see if their is a dog in their care that someone is searching for.

  • ash
    January 26, 2014 - 12:34

    Leanne is doing her job show her some compassion she is a hard working dedicated women. She is following set rules for good reasons. There is obviously only one side to this story. I'm sorry to the family who lost their dog, but honestly the instant if my dog were to go missing I would phone the spca and go in to make sure if he's there or not.Get your pets tagged and identified so this doesn't continue to happen.

  • Jackie
    January 26, 2014 - 11:58

    The fact that everyone is bashing everyone on here is just so sad! I believe the SPCA made a choice that they felt was right. It is unfortunate that a family lost a dog due to this decision. People need to stop focusing on how the dog was lost and her not knowing. I own and live on a farm ( recently moved from Regina) now I have two absolutely amazing dogs! In the city animals are limited to the space, owners ability for walks ect. Out here the first thing I did was get rid of the collars and let them just run! Now I do make sure they are inside when we go to bed. But I have never known a single person who owns an acreage or farm to ever keep their animals leashed or fenced in. That being said mistakes were made, people were hurt, animals were not reunited with their family's and that is something both sides will have to live with. It's not the owners fault and it's not the SPCA's either. It happens, just learn and move forward!

  • Connie
    January 26, 2014 - 11:57

    Unfortunately common sense is learned and clearly the SPCA manager relied on policy! This is not the first time the SPCA has adopted an animal to another home after the owner tried to reclaim their pet. Re homing pets is traumatic for the pet so maybe policy needs to change to support the best interest of the animal because evidently the SPCA cannot figure this out on their own. The Board of Directors need to revisit policy and maybe have an appeal process that involves people from the community.

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 - 11:56

    First off..for people bashing the dogs owner..she lives on an acreage and that is probably why he was able to run free if I had an acreage both of my dogs would be running free as well. Having family who do live on an acreage there have been times that their dogs would take off for a day or two and would come back when they needed something. The story did state that they contacted the RM with no luck. When she did contact the SPCA why was she not able to see the dog. My mother in laws dog went missing and looking at a picture of one found which matched the description was hard to determine whether it was hers or not but the minute I was able to physically see the dog I instantly knew it was him. And my bet is that if he was able to physically see the dog he would have came running for her! Now for all of the people who say there is two sides to the story well I'm pretty sure we heard the SPCAs side or else there wouldn't be any comments made by Leanne. So if this Leanne is the head honcho at the SPCA I think it's time to change roles. Should they not be trying to reunite missing pets with their families? Not just trying to make a few hundred bucks off of missing pets as I know how much it costs to adopt a dog as I have adopted two from there plus a cat. Anyways with that being said I will no longer support the SPCA in any way as I do not believe this was the way to handle things and I hope that if this has happened to anyone else that they make it known to the public so someone puts a stop to it. The SPCA is supposed to be helping families not tearing them apart!

  • Skye
    January 26, 2014 - 11:56

    Two sides to every story. If you don't know the exact date when "your oh so loved pet" went missing, sure sounds like you love it so much. The second my dog went missing I would know and i would be looking for it calling every shelter not calling one and relying on someone else to call another shelter to continue the search for my dog while I sit at home wondering what day he went missing. Pretty sad you all jump to conclusion. And what if this dog was to go back to this home and the next day be ran over on the highway. Ya that's a real rewarding story clearly these people couldn't keep their dog in the yard. The SPCA works with that they have and other situations they have dealt with and how those one have panned out so think twice before you judge someone's character over someone else's pitty party story. Cause guess what. If you kept your dog in your yard you would of never been in this situation.

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 - 09:31

    I know Leanne Roberts personally, and to ANYONE who thinks she has no compassion, go work a week with her. She deals with all the bad pet owners who starve and beat their dogs and still think they deserve them, witness the compassion she has even for those who never deserve and animal, let alone those that do. Just because a news reported picked and chose what to post, doesn't mean you get everything she says. Leanne Roberts is by far a better person to humans and animals then any of you could hope to be, do you see her on here slamming you for what people wrote! No because she doesn't need to put others down to make herself feel better. Case closed. This story is about a dog not Leanne.

  • Support the SPCA
    January 26, 2014 - 09:28

    The staff at the SPCA deal with impossible situations everyday. The cases that they see are heartbreaking, Leanne is one of the caring people I know, if her decision was made, it was the right one. I have four dogs, if one ever went missing every dog pound in a 100 mile radius would get a call...daily. It is easy to lay blame, it is hard to do the work.

  • Get Real
    January 26, 2014 - 09:21

    First of all if this is actually 'Ed' people need to know this dog was picked up 3 times in 3 weeks MILES from home. Each time he went missing it took his owners a couple days to look for him. His dog was in the PA SPCA's care for over a week before the owner went looking for him, great pet owner. Everyone forgets there is too sides to every story. If my dogs are out of my sight when outside I don't feel rigr about it, let alone 'not sure if he went missing the 13th or 14th' that means for 24 hours she didn't even know if her dog was missing! People, get the facts and let the PA SPCA so their job, all you know is this angry pet owners story, she also states that she told the SPCA staff it was not her dog, so they did what they always do, and placed a dog legally in ther care into a wonderful forever home!

  • Jen
    January 26, 2014 - 08:52

    I will NEVER stop donating money to the SPCA. You people don't even know the full story! Instead of shunning them, why don't you volunteer your time or money to go in and help. Going to stop donating money to the SPCA, the only thing you are hurting is the animals!!!!!!! If you stop supporting the lost and abused souls because of some petty little one sided article, you are just as cold hearted and narrow minded as the rest of the world. There are details this woman has left out, details outlining the REAL reason she couldn't have her dog back..

  • Linda
    January 26, 2014 - 07:38

    It makes no sense to stop supporting and donating to the SPCA. It's for the animals not the people running it, and If your really a 'dog lover' you wouldn't let one story that has missing information, sway your decision to help homeless and abused animals.

  • Ali Hunt
    January 26, 2014 - 05:23

    I wouldn't be to quick to judge the SPCA, After reading the other comments I have to share my story of our missing cat... We had a cat go missing for like 7 months and we searched for what seemed like forever (newspaper, posters, kijiji, facebook and so on...) The day the SPCA came across our cat Debbie called me personally to invite me to the shelter to id him... it was him... without hesitation my mom picked him up and hes been back at home happy ever since! Mistakes happen, and I agree with the SPCA... if you didn't let your dog get loose in the first place then maybe you shouldnt be to quick to judge what the people do with the animals that they do care for!! I adopted a dog from the SPCA 2 years ago and because of him and only because of him it gave me the strength and love in life that I needed... Obviously this is a bad mistake that took place and i'm sorry that it happened but the ladies at the SPCA are amazing woman and deserve more credit then to be slandered over something that happened...

  • Bob
    January 26, 2014 - 03:17

    I belive in all fairness that Eddie should have been returned back to the original owner,loosing an animal is like loosing a family member, which is very stressful on the owner, kids and the animal. The problem with Saskatchewan Government orginizations are that they make there own Laws and rules and feel that they are above the Law and maybe its time that Saskatchewan has an over all review from Ottawa, Canada on the misconduct that is being displayed by these and other orginiations in Saskatchewan. Very sad and touching story! Kind Regards, Bob. B.

  • Kim
    January 26, 2014 - 01:47

    The SPCA. Is a joke they make a big deal over giving the lady her dog back and yet they don't take a cat are dog in care

  • Animal Lover
    January 26, 2014 - 01:06

    I had heard of something like this happening before and it is simply wrong! Good for Mrs. Boyer's willingness to share her sad experience with the public so changes can hopefully be made. Just realizing the number of dogs and cats which are put down every year at the SPCA and how pet owners are disrespected and not allowed to have their pets back is such a shame.

  • Seriously
    January 26, 2014 - 01:03

    Does everyone not think there is two sides to every story?! I for one picked up this dog on the middle of the highway at midnight on a super cold night. He was almost hit by a truck. So I took him home. He was an INTACT male with no collar roaming around. He reaked of garbage and you could tell was not well trained. I found the owners the next day. And he left with a blue collar I put on him. Not even a week later he was at the Buckland pound. With Only the collar I put on him still. Then the following week was bought to the SPCA with no identification and the collar I had originally put on!! I'm sorry but 3 times in 3 weeks, no changes and free to let roam and presumably making puppies with any female around and then not looking for him for days and days because they obviously are used to him being gone is a far cry For an ideal home.

  • Tammy Mah
    January 26, 2014 - 00:56

    This happen to me also but my cat was advertised on t.v. I also went and check SPCA and she was not there. Here a person who sometimes takes animals home had my cat there. If I was not wTching t.v. That afternoon my cat would of been adopted out. When I contact SPCA about my cat being on TV. They said that the cat has been there for quite a while. I did tell them that I have been checking almost everyday. In the end I got my cat back and had to pay 154.00 dollars.

  • Les
    January 25, 2014 - 23:56

    The PA SPCA has received its last nickel from me, I supported them faithfully but after reading this story it's clear the PA SPCA has the wrong people in place. I will never donate another penny to them. Leanne Roberts has no compassion, she should resign

  • Dog Lover
    January 25, 2014 - 20:07

    First off sounds like Roberts needs to be let go in favour of someone with a little more compassion and people skills and second I will not support the PASPCA ever again after hearing this!