People who lost dog want him back, too late

By Heidi Zemach for SCN
A friendly, likable 10-year old mix breed dog with a long history of taking off is the subject of an ugly, public dispute between the Seward Animal Shelter, his new owners, and his former owners. The dog, known to the Animal Shelter in Seward as “Tiny,” and by its previous owners in Anchorage as “Brutus,” got loose a little over a week ago in Anchorage. The person that found him took him to the Anchorage Animal Shelter. There, his microchip was scanned. It listed him as being named “Tiny” and belonging to the Seward Animal Shelter.

After a 5-6 day wait period to allow his owners to come find him at Anchorage’s only animal shelter, or to search through their list and photographs of found animals, a worker from Anchorage Animal Control drove him to the shelter in Seward, where he was well known. Tiny had been in and out of that shelter over a period of several years, and Animal Control Officer Shelli McDowell was rather fond of the old guy. He has had several different owners over the course of his life, and had run away from them repeatedly.

As the weather was turning cold, and snowy, and she didn’t have room for him inside, and as the inside pet room in the shelter is currently full of small dogs and cats, including several they received during the flood, McDowell tried hard to find Tiny a new home. As luck would have it, she located a couple in Seward who were looking to adopt a dog like him. So,  after waiting several more days, and recieving final word from the Anchorage Shelter that no one had come looking for him, McDowell adopted him out a couple of days ago.

When Anchorage owner Natalie Irwin found out what had happened, she and her husband were “heartbroken” that the dog they had owned since February, a special Valentines gift to her, had been re-adopted. She was amazed that the Anchorage shelter had taken the trouble of driving him “all the way” down to Seward. Natalie made a plea on Craigslist, and on her Facebook page, for people to help her locate his new owners, and let her try to reason with them to get their Brutus back.



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“My husband and I are heartbroken and dearly miss our big baby. Brutus is a part of our family and we are desperate to bring him home!” she writes on Craigslist.

But the new owners don’t want to give up their new dog, who they also love, and want to keep, McDowell said. They paid the adoption fee, and charitably took him into their own home believing that they would have a new friend for life. She’s sorry that what happened, happened, however McDowell stresses that there’s no theft here, just an event that occurs with great regularity at shelters across the U.S. with people who lose their dogs. It’s lucky that “Tiny” was returned to the Seward shelter, because had he stayed in Anchorage, or in the Soldotna Animal shelter, which do not have a “no kill policy,” chances are nobody would have adopted an elderly dog, with a history of escaping, and he might have been put down, she said.

For those who may feel sorry for the Anchorage owners, who are complaining bitterly and publically about their loss, McDowell explains the adoption was entirely legal, and according to their regular adoption process. The first mistake the Irwins made was not getting the microchip registered to their own name, which they, and all adoptive pets are specifically encouraged to do. Then, they would have been contacted by the shelter when the dog was found, and could have positively identified him as hers. The last time Brutus ran away from the Irwins in Anchorage, the same thing happened, and the Anchorage shelter had also contacted the Seward shelter, but the owners fetched him home from the Anchorage Animal Shelter in time, McDowell said. The owners also were informed when adopted that the dog had a tendency to run away, she said.

The second thing that the Irwins apparently did not do after he was adopted was to get their dog seen by a veterinarian, McDowell said. That’s what all new adoptive owners are advised to do. They would then have learned that their dog was actually 10 years old, (suffering from arthritis), not four years old, as they stated on their Craigslist ad.

This was a sad affair, but a lesson on the importance of adoptive owners getting their pets microchips re-registered to them, just as car titles and registrations are changed with new owners. But since none of those things were done, McDowell hopes that Natalie Irwin will stop trying to hunt for him and get him back, and realize that his re-adoption is to some extent her own responsibility, and that he is in good hands.

59 Comments

  1. We all make mistakes in life. Who has forgot to pay a bill? Or update their registration? Or forget to put their new insurance cards in the car? These kinds of things happen, however from what I understand Natalie did ask the Anchorage shelter to update the chip in which they informed her they did. This is a young sweet couple who love their dog Brutus. They have offered to compensate the new owners for everything they have payed toward the dog. I could not imagine how I would respond in this situation – my dogs are my babies and there is no way in …. that I would let this go no matter the circumstances. Sure she made a mistake, but common people – applaud her for caring this much for her dog and it was only a “little over a week ago” that he was lost. I can’t imagine the new owners are as attached as they are. She reached out to the Seward City news for help and I feel like they may have misrepresented her in this article – it certainly isn’t a neutral stance. Also – she did call the Anchorage Animal Shelter the day after Brutus was lost and gave them a full report on their missing dog. The last place they would think to look is Seward.

  2. J. Greenstreet says:

    The writer of this story needs to check on a few more facts. The Anchorage animal shelter has verified they do indeed have the correct information on Brutus’ microchip. My question to them would be “If you had the correct information on Brutus, then how did he end up in Seward”. I think it falls in their laps to answer this question. The Irwins did update that information with them quite some time ago. So it is a real mystery how the chip read the way it did and quite sad how the dog ended up in Seward. So the Irwins did indeed do exactly what they were supposed to do, even calling the shelter when Brutus was first missing so they could keep an eye out for him. I find it hard to believe that a family who has the kind of heart to rescue a pet in the first place wouldn’t find a similar place in their heart to return the dog to a family who loves him and has been served a sad injustice. I really don’t mean this in a cruel way. Guess the two just don’t add up in my mind. I wonder if the new owners are really aware of what happened.

  3. I have to agree with the two above me. Mistakes can happen and even if the info on the microchip was never updated all the facts are out there now and it’s obvious who the rightful owner is. I can understand how easy it is to fall for a pet you just adopted but imagine how the true owners in Anchorage must feel. They lost their beloved family pet and from what it sounds like did quite a bit to try and locate him.

    Microchip updated or not mistakes happen and things can get crossed and mixed up. I have rescued two dogs myself that were in need on the side of the road over the past two years and instantly feel in love with them. Both my current dogs got along great with them and I would have kept them both in a heartbeat had I not been able to locate the owners. Lucky for the wife and the owners were located within 24 hrs and returned to their families. Point is, had it been 24 hours or a week, month, multiple months I would have given the dog back to their rightful owners. It’s the right thing to do.

    To the new owners, if you happen to stumble across this article I think you really need to look at the whole situation. Maybe you are only hearing part of it, maybe you don’t have all the facts? Do the right thing, show you care and that you truly care for the animal and let it go back to it’s true home. It’s selfish to think of only yourselves in this situation.

    If you truly want to rescue a dog there are plenty in the shelters all over Alaska. Any one of them would be happy to find you a new loving dog to take home.

    Andy

  4. A dog owner is the owner of that dog for LIFE, period. Give the dog back to the loving owner as it should be.

  5. You should be glad that the dog isn’t dead. Many shelters (including Anchorage) kill dogs after just a few days. This new family legally adopted him and he is now legally theirs. I wouldn’t give him back to you either. You failed to update his microchip with your information. You failed to put a collar with an ID tag on him. You failed to procure a safe place for him to stay while you were having a blast in the Lower 48. You failed as a pet owner and losing him was the price. Be thankful he is still alive and quit harassing the new family (or attempting to)

  6. I don’t know who to believe after reading the comments, but if it were me I would happily give the dog back knowing he is going back to his family. I can’t imagine how heartbroken his owners are.

  7. For those that don’t know how micorchips work, you have to call the chip company to register the chip. The shelter can not do that for you. They may have the new owners info associated with the chip in their system but the chips registration will still be the old information until the company is called and a fee is paid to change it.

    The Seward shelter is also still associated with the chip, even when the owner info changes. It is a safety net for Rescue animals. If the owner can not be contacted then the rescue or shelter they came from is contacted and can then pick them up.

  8. Wow, there are some heartless people out there! Not even sympathetic and willing to return a lost child. Sounds like they better keep him on lockdown so they don’t have to go thru the sorrow they r putting someone else thru.

  9. Some people are just jerks!!! I can understand the new owners loving the dog too – but how selfish not to care one bit about re-uniting him with his family. I love reading those stories on the news – but apparently this is not one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Here’s the thing – if you are going to write a factual article, I believe that the first rule in doing so is to check your facts. The last name of the couple who lost their dog is in fact spelled IRWIN, not ERWIN. If the writer of this article cannot get that simple fact right, how many other “facts” in her story are inaccurate?

    The Irwin’s had indeed updated Brutus’ information on his microchip, which has been confirmed with the Anchorage Animal Shelter. Habibi L – regardless of whether or not the microchip company had the updated information the fact remains that the Anchorage Animal Shelter had Brutus’ updated information IN THEIR SYSTEM.

    Also, how exactly was it determined that Brutus was 10 years old and suffering from arthritis? When animal shelters list adoptable animals, they give an approximate age, no? I do not see how it is appropriate to put this in your article when the shelter the Irwin’s adopted him from should have told him an approximate age. I find it hard to believe they would tell them that he was 4 if they indeed thought he was 10.

    Brutus was reported missing the very next morning after he got out – his microchip number was given as well as a description and they were never contacted, despite repeated daily calls to the shelter in their search for their dog.

    I have known Natalie for several years. While yes, it was her and her husband’s responsibility to prevent Brutus from running away, especially with his history of escaping, that does not change the fact that this is a young couple who loves and adores their dog. This news article implies that they did not search for Brutus when they in fact exhausted all the resources available to them. All they want is their family back together. They have offered to compensate the couple who has re-adopted Brutus for all expenses incurred.

    Overall, I find this article highly inappropriate. Anyone with half a brain can see and understand exactly where the author of this article stands on the issue. There is absolutely no subtlety and I find it appalling and disappointing.

    To the new owners – if you read this article, please give Brutus back. You have only had him a few days and while I do not doubt that you are attached, what about the family who has had him almost a year? Please do not disregard the Irwin’s love for their dog. Just give him back.

  11. I got to stay with the Irwins for a little bit over the summer and i got to experience first hand how much they loved and cared for Brutus…and how much Brutus loved and cared for them. This article breaks my heart and i think Seward city news should be ashamed for how they have depicted the Irwins and their care about Brutus. If the McDowells have any decency and respect they should return the dog to its rightful owner! How can they claim their weeklong attachment to Brutus is more strong than the Irwins 8 month attachment to him? Give him back!!

    • Samantha,

      GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!

      Shelli McDowell is Seward’s Animal Control Officer.

      NOT THE FAMILY THAT ADOPTED “TINY”.

      I think we need to give Seward’s Animal Control Officer around of applause for her efforts to place animals in need of a home. While so many shelters out there kill the first chance they get.

      DOING HER JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Dave Paperman says:

        Amen –

        At this point it is out of the Animal Shelter’s control, so everyone should leave the Shelter out of this thread.

        Shelli was not aware that anyone in Anchorage had or wanted any claim to the dog, so she had a choice – euthanasia or adoption. Thankfully after a few days in Sewards tiny and overcrowded shelter she found a home for this stray.

        If it turns out the new owners want to give the dog back, then that is fine, if they don’t, then that is their decision. However, the Animal Control Officer and the Shelter doesn’t have any more say over the dog than they do over any dog in town and would have no right to take it away.

        Thanks Shelli for doing a good job of finding homes for animals that are surrendered or dropped off at the Shelter and whose original owners cannot be found.

  12. This story seems to be very biased. After hearing the other side of the story from the Irwin’s I can see that the author of this story hasn’t gotten all of the facts. Sounds to me that Brutus was microchipped by the Irwin’s and for some reason a mistake was made. The bottom line is that a mistake had been made, he should have never made it to Seward and anchorage animal shelter should have recognized Brutus during the time he was there and the Irwin’s called and asked if he was there everyday. Seems like something got severely overlooked here. I also agree completely with the above comments. If the new owners truly love animals they would give the dog back to the original owners.

  13. I have a great dog that these folks can have if they really want a dog. he is fixed, a great companion and well trained. e-mail me

  14. I can vouch that there are many incorrect “facts” in this article. Why is this article written to some seemingly slight form of propaganda biased against the Irwins? Being a herald of local news CAN and WILL influence people – and in this case, is seems its influence is aimed negatively at the Irwins.

    Did the author even try contacting the Irwins directly for assurance of facts?

    All these assumptions are not helping the situation. We need to get the correct, affirmed information on this article to actually HELP them, not mislead people to hinder the effort of returning their [Irwins'] dog.

    This is not a “…lesson on the importance of adoptive owners getting their pets microchips re-registered to them…” – this is a misleading article. Some of the comments defending the Irwins are of primary-source information who have either spoken directly too them, or know them. Lets listen to them instead.

    • Lee N.

      The most frustrating thing is that the Irwins reached out to the media for help. And this was the result!! I hope the author will revise her story.

  15. The author of this article seems quite irresponsible. If what people are saying in the comments are true, that the author couldn’t even get their name or info on the chip right, how can we trust anything else they say? The bias on this article bleeds from every line. How long has the new owner had the dog, a few days? Be a human being, give the dog back. They are fellow dog owners, ones who were willing to take in an elderly dog. They are obviously decent people. How often do you see so many responses in favor of someone in a news article? I’ve never seen this before.

    Give “Brutus” Back to his family.

    • Well said Zachary, this couple loves Brutus and have tried many different ways to get in touch with the new owners in a respectful manner. They obviously care for this dog to go through any means possible to get him back. As for the author of this article, journalism isn’t suppose to be slanted or bias, please do you job and get the facts straight before posting invalid information.

  16. I understand that a person can immediately become strongly attached to a dog, really I do. It was love at first sight with my dog. To this day, I am her favorite and she is mine. However, if someone had stepped up the first week I had her, I would have returned her to a family that also loved her. From what I have read, this is an unfair situation all around. The right thing to do is to return this dog. It clearly was never meant to be up for adoption in the first place. I hope the people who have him now can find it in their hearts to make the right choice.

  17. Give Brutus back to his family!! There are no excuses for not giving him back! He is their dog!! What would you do if the dog was initially yours?? There are literally hundreds of loving dogs in shelters in Alaska that are looking for the love that you are able to give them! Adopt one of them. Do the right thing and return him to his family. He misses them!

  18. Having all the friends and family you know go on to post responses bashing the news paper for publishing a story not in your favor isn’t going to get you the dog back. (Yes, that is the case here as I have seen your posts on several places with the link and a plea to post comments in the Irwins favor).

    I have worked with various shelters and rescues. This is the typical case of an owner not coming to get the dog,the dog gets adopted out, and then suddenly the owner wants the dog back. Shelters have stray holds for a reason: to give the owners a chance to get their dog back. The shelters can take info down but it is not their responsibility to hunt the owners down and make them come get their dog. If my dog went missing I would be at the shelter EVERY DAY to see if they showed up! The fact that the husband was home the whole time is even worse. The Anchorage shelter keeps longer hours to make it easier for owners to come out. They transferred the dog to the Seward shelter because that was the info on the chip. They may have had the dog listed in their system and having the chip associated to that but they go off of the info actually provided by the chip company. The owners never updated that information with their own. They knew their info wasn’t on the chip but they never updated it? How is that responsible pet ownership?

    All the people bashing the new owners think about this… This dog has a history of escaping from these people. They never update his info for the chip. They didn’t have a collar with tags on him. From what I have heard they had a very tightly fit shock collar on the dog. They never went to the shelter to get him and if left at the Anchorage shelter he would have been put down… If you adopted a dog like that and the previous owners wanted it back would you honestly give him back? I can’t say that I would. They aren’t responsible enough pet owners. Sure they probably did love him. But that doesn’t mean they are the best home for him. What happens if he did go back there and two weeks from now he gets out again and is hit by a car? No, I think these people are doing the right thing by not giving the dog back.

  19. Actually ‘B’ I think you need to re-read the article. It says “He has had several different owners over the course of his life, and had run away from them repeatedly.” meaning of course he ran away from those previous owners NOT the Irwins. Please don’t twist the facts in an already very biased article!
    When Brutus runs away from these new owners they will certainly expect him back. According to the timeline set out in this article the new owners couldn’t have had him more than a day or two whereas the Irwins have had him since February!
    The writer of this article has shed a negative light on the Irwins and obviously didn’t get their side of the story. Please rewrite this article with both sides, including facts as have been added in the comments, not opinions

  20. Here is a great article regarding this issue. It the facts and the law concerning pets.

    http://www.animallaw.info/articles/dduspetadoption.htm

    Back a few months ago. My Neighbors parents took AKA STOLE their dog. My mother immediately called the police to get the dog back and guess what they said too bad too sad. So my mother SUED them and thankfully 3 months later that got the dog back.

  21. If I continue to read this right and call me wrong. I continue to read this one part.After a 5-6 day wait period to allow his owners to come find him at Anchorage’s only animal shelter, or to search through their list and photographs of found animals, a worker from Anchorage Animal Control drove him to the shelter in Seward, where he was well known. Tiny had been in and out of that shelter over a period of several years, and Animal Control Officer Shelli McDowell was rather fond of the old guy. He has had several different owners over the course of his life, and had run away from them repeatedly. so is this a seward dog or a anchorage dog? and who is the real owner?

  22. FREE BRUTUS T-shirts 10 dollars, u
    Unbiased journalism…. Priceless

  23. That poor 4 to 10 year old dog that had to be incarcerated for 5 to 6 days then taken “all the way” down to Seward… with arthritis! But facts are facts and after having picked up this canine once from the only animal shelter in Anchorage why bother contcting those same owners? How about one of those shirts Joe Dirt?

  24. What I find amusing is that everybody is so shocked about the lack of fact checking by the author. I’m going to go ahead and assume most of the commenters are from Anchorage and this is their 1st time reading SCN.

  25. Good day,

    Most of these comments result from a campaign to ‘comment stuff’ the site. Most are from out of state, California, Oregon, Texas. Six of them are from the same IP address. Just thought I would share this bit of info.

    Paul Tougas
    907 491 0008
    Moderator
    Sewardcitynews.com

    • Some of the Irwin’s supportive friends and family live outside of Alaska – I myself was raised in Alaska but am attending school out of state, hence why my comments will show that I posted from North Dakota as well as Kansas City.

    • Indiana Resident With No Ties To The Irwins says:

      Paul,

      Thank you for sharing that bit of info BUT if it were my dog in this situation I would probably be doing the same exact thing. Especially when an article is written that is so blatantly biased as this. What on earth do you expect them to do? Say “oh well the powers that be (SCN) have determined that I am in the wrong. I guess I will just forget about the attachment I have with my baby”. Of course not! Their efforts to retrieve Brutus only prove their love for him. The fact of the matter is that the author of this article left out quite a few important facts and a true news center would admonish the author NOT those people trying to set the record straight.

      About your comment on where the comments originated from I have this to ask: so what?!?! If this thread is getting comments from all over the U.S. that clearly means that this issue is all the more poignant. Look at me, I found this article on a Facebook page for the fair treatment of animals. I have absolutely no relation to anyone in Alaska and have never met the Irwins. Nonetheless I feel for them and if I were in their situation I would want people from all over to step up and call for what’s right. From what I have seen there were mistakes made on both sides but the Irwins did try immediately to find their dog and that shows their compassion for him. They can’t change what’s already happened and I don’t think it’s even remotely fair to say that “This was a sad affair, but a lesson on the importance of adoptive owners getting their pets microchips re-registered to them… But since none of those things were done, McDowell hopes that Natalie Irwin will stop trying to hunt for him and get him back, and realize that his re-adoption is to some extent her own responsibility…”. Losing a cherished member of the family is not a “lesson”, it’s a tragedy. Seeing articles like this honestly make me fear for the future of journalism. Show your bias in an editorial or on a blog, NOT in an article that claims to deliver the truth.

      I sincerely hope that the Irwins get their dog back and the new adopters find another dog that will live with them and give them joy for the rest of its life. I also sincerely hope that the author of this article is spoken to about her bias and lack of fact-checking. Judging by your comment though Paul I don’t see that happening; even you couldn’t “share this bit of info” without a clear bias.

      Regarding IP addresses try looking at the MAC addresses instead. IPs are not always reliable.

      I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope that none of you claiming that the Irwins are in the wrong ever have to go through the ordeal of losing a pet.

  26. ~in a small town... says:

    Any dog who can talk him/her self out of the Anchorage Lockup
    and convince their employee to take the drive to Seward in late
    Fall so as to not have to hitch-hike the treacherous Seward Hwy
    really has no owner at all.

    That’s one ‘self-made dog’ we’re talking about and so many of
    us humans can’t hardly handle owning a DVD player or VCR
    without messing up something. Or texting-while-driving. Who
    would want to be a car owned by some of these people and
    not try to run away?

    The microchip and known history of the poor canine’s whereabouts
    indicated he at least liked his friends in Seward, so that’s a nobrainer.

    Ownership is such a fleeting thing; for example, who owns the
    wrapper of the junk food tossed out of a car window? Should
    a fast-food chain accept their’s by return postage-due mail?

    ~in a small town…
    kenai mountains, ak

    {PS: no Paul, while I did get the email, I’m too busy taking care
    of an elder human to write much or do so consistently; though
    I did OK in college level courses at UAA & KPC, thanks though}

  27. Whew! I’m exhausted reading these embarrassingly corny comments, these pathetically forlorn requests to return a dog to owners who didn’t have the foresight (or smarts) to hang a simple $5 pet ID tag from the collar of a dog with a history of roaming.
    Come one! Requesting relatives and friends to post negative comments is really lame. Kinda like high school, no?
    This is not a popularity contest. It’s dog ownership. It’s a responsibility, and one that too many pet owners fail to respect.
    If this had happened in a larger city, the dog would have been put down. The fact that the Anchorage shelter took the time and energy to drive “Tiny” down to Seward is commendable. They are the real heroes of this jumbled scenario.

  28. Cinthia,

    “Requesting relatives and friends to post negative comments.”

    Hm… Where are you getting your facts from? I don’t see ANYWHERE where the Irwins have requested ANYONE to post “negative” comments. I do see on Natalie’s facebook she said, “I’m trying to remain positive and not bitter right now… Please comment on the article with your opinions! Thank you.” That seems to me completely OPPOSITE of what you are saying. She is being “positive” NOT “negative” and she is telling people to post their opinions, not requesting people to write for or against the article.

    Honestly, this entire mess is one of the most rediculous things I have ever heard. Yes, maybe there was a misunderstanding with the identification of Brutus’ microchip and there were things the Irwins maybe could have done to be a little more proactive about finding Brutus (although I can’t imagine 75% of dog owners today would do much more), but it was ONE MISTAKE! Everyone makes mistakes! Natalie and Xavier really did try hard to get Brutus back. Not everyone has the detailed personality to think of all the extra things they “should have” done. Yes, now they know what they could have done more but should their consequences be so cruel? I really do not understand why people are being SO heartless!

    No, this is not “kinda like high school,” this is some VERY loving dog owners trying to get their dog back and true statements by several people that were NOT asked to make “negative” comments, just showing their HONEST opinion. I think people should really get their facts straight before causing so much destruction to two very loving and caring people that did absolutely NOTHING wrong.

    Whoever the new dog owners are, I hope they are ashamed of themselves for acting this way and reconsider giving Brutus back to the home where he really belongs.

    FYI… No one asked me to leave this comment. I did it because I feel for the Irwins AND Brutus! I know how much they cared for Brutus and can only imagine how sad they feel now that he is gone.

  29. After doing some more research with both the Irwins and Seward – it seems this story is not accurate, comments included. I think that Seward animal control, the Irwins, and the people who adopted Brutus should all sit down and talk this out.

  30. The dog didn’t have a collar or ID. The chip wasn’t updated with the REAL owners’ info. These are simple efforts by owners to locate their dogs! If Brutus’ owners did not have these in place, I’m sorry for their loss… The shelter staff DEFINATELY did the right thing by Brutus. Good luck to all and, most importantly, Brutus. I believe either family will love him but hope their bitter “war” will not taint their decision to keep Brutus. Also, that both families and others realize how IMPORTANT keeping your dogs home is for others’ safety as well as THEIRS!

    • Indiana Resident With No Ties To The Irwins says:

      According to many comments the Irwins believed the chip to be accurate. One comment even states that the Anchorage shelter had the Irwins’ information on file but that official ownership hadn’t been transferred. Doesn’t it seem logical that the shelter would contact anyone on file? I would hope so but evidently not.

      As for the collar and ID I agree that there should have been one but even they are not always the best choice. Collars and ID tags can get torn off and in some instances collars can even be dangerous to the animal. If the dog has a propensity for squeezing through tight spaces a collar could get caught and lead to the strangulation of the animal. Sadly I know of more than one animal that lost its life due to collar strangulation (and no none of them were mine).

      Even though there were no tags and the microchip was inaccurate the facts are in the open now. The new owners by now surely know at least some of the facts and hopefully once they learn more they will return him. I have faith that the kind of people who would adopt an elderly dog from a shelter would also be the kind of people who would return a mistaken stray to its rightful owners. I understand the strong immediate attachment to an animal but they ought to consider how the Irwins are feeling. Had the dog been in the new home for a period of more than a few days and had the Irwins not done everything they could to get the dog back I would probably agree that they were in the wrong. In this case though it’s clearly evident that a few days does not add up to the same amount of attachment as eight months.

  31. Damn, I wish everyone on here would go to the nearest shelter and adopt a dog!!! They should all be as lucky as Brutus! Cinthia, this is Alaska, not the “Lower 48″!! We do things differently here! We help our neighbors in need and we are all family!! We do the RIGHT thing!! For some reason I don’t think you live here! This isn’t a popularity contest, you are right. It is called doing the right thing and returning Brutus to his family that love and miss him!!! The people that have him need to think about if they were in the same situation! It is ridiculous that he hasn’t been returned!!

  32. P, I was just wondering – where are you getting your information from?

    Can you please show us all exactly where/when/how/etc. Natalie ” … [Ms. Irwin] started a campaign to slaunder [sic] anyone and everyone she percieved [sic] as being involved …”?

    Natalie DID NOT EVER nor WILL EVER be the sort of person that would do such a thing. Those who have commented defending the Irwin’s are doing so because we see this as the sad situation that it is and are well within our rights to point out Ms. Zemach’s numerous mistakes in writing this article.

    Seems to me that your information is coming from a less than reliable source so please, I ask all of you to GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT before SLANDERING this young couple who YES made a few mistakes but I can GUARANTEE every person speaking ill of the Irwin’s – their level of care of their dog, their irresponsibility, etc, – can take that finger and point it right back at themselves.

    • JB I got my information from speaking with Ms Irwin and her husband when she claimed she had located my number randomly because I am a Seward rescue Peninsula Unwanted Pets. Although asked she never provided any information that substantiated they had adopted the dog however I did find out later via AAC and SAS that they had in fact done so. Why do I say what I did because Ms Irwin went on FB and Craigs List stating my rescue had her dog, would not return it and would not give out the new adoptive owners information. She refered to conversations that did not happen. My rescue only does small dogs we did not have this dog nor do we know who does. Yet after being told this she continued to make these statements so I do have a problem with that. I had warned Ms Irwin about making such statements but she appears to continue to believe otherwise.
      Yes there are a few errors in this article such as the good samaritan that found the dog kept it for 3-4 days and drove it to Seward not AAC and the Seward Animal Shelter held the dog their required time of 5 days however these mix ups do not matter regarding the outcome or effect this from a legal standpoint. I think the author did a good job of reporting what occured and why and what might have been done to prevent it so to spare others future heartache. All of us that love our animals can certainly understand the pain and also the desire to locate and want your animal back. I had offered to contact AAC in Mr Irwins behalf but he would not provide me with the microchip info to do. He stated if it would not get the dog back then he did not care. I wanted to find out why if the Irwins had adopted from AAC and even though they had not registered their chip that when AAC scanned the dog for the good samaitan that found him they did not find the Irwins as a most recent adopter. The best I can come up with and this is my opinion. They assume that it is the owners responsibility to reregister the chip and they provide all information necessary to do so but most of all, and I had also told the Irwins this for privacy sake you cannot give out that information not knowing if the adopter still owned the dog or had given it away they cannot just hand out someone info to someone else. Could they have contacted the Irwins? I suppose so, but again is it their responsibility or is it the Irwins to come to the shelter or even go online and file the lost report? I guess it is a step that AAC is not willing to provide to reunite people with their pets. Right or wrong I do understand as I had also told the Irwins that I do not give out adopter information to anyone. Because the author is not advocating that this dog should be returned she is biased? It seems she just put down the info she got from the Irwins and Animal Control. Let it be clear that Seward Animal Shelter is who microchipped the dog Tiny years ago not the Irwins nor AAC. That is why the dog is registered to them. The individual that adopted Tiny from the Seward Animal Shelter also did not bother to reregister Tiny in her name. Nor any owner thereafter. Very few people do as they do not see or understand the importance and the author seems to be trying to explain this. It is unfortunate for the Irwins this occured under different circumstance it probably would not have. The Shelter is full with abused and neglected dogs and cats discovered during the flood so it created a urgency for a home for this old fellow. As someone said anywhere else an old dog would have been dead after 72 hrs or so. It is because of ACO McDowells compassion and determination to avoid euthanization of adoptable animals regardless their age that this dog is even alive. I hope that the Irwins can find some peace in knowing that fact and that his new owners I have heard are good people. Hopefully with time for the dust to settle maybe they can communicate and visit.

      • I would just like to say that the Irwins did indeed try to provide proof of ownership so I believe you are confused about that. And yes, they did believe Brutus to have been at Peninsula Unwanted Pets (PUPS) but then later retracted that statement as you requested. The Irwins realized they had been wrong and regret having involved PUPS in this situation. Also there was not a single time that a lie was told by the Irwins, so I’m not sure why you would say they made conversations up. However I do know that they were confused and that there was a lot of miscommunication. If you will look in the above comments admin has posted a link to a new article where the Irwin’s state they are letting Brutus go. I hope everyone will take a look and forgive them for their mistakes.

  33. I have removed P’s comment for several reasons. The Irwins have been nothing but respectful and polite in their correspondence with us and their postings online, that we have seen.

    It seems fair game that they were assertive in looking for redress to an issue where they felt wronged. Hopefully we have all learned something from this difficult situation.

    Paul Tougas
    907 491 0008
    SewardCityNews.com

  34. As a journalist, I’d like to say I’m appalled at this attempt at “journalism.”

    I noticed that the misspelling of the Irwins’ last name has been corrected.

    Though I understand that this website is a “citizen journalism” site, something I am completely in favor of, there are still standards of journalism that should be adhered to if one is expected to be taken seriously.

    This is an amazing example of biased “journalism.” Throughout the article, the author makes comments on what the Irwins did wrong, as well as saying that this was a lesson. As a “journalist,” those statements are not your call to make.

    Please keep your opinion out of “news,” and try to see other sides than one before trying to pass some words on a page off as “journalism.”

    • Indiana Resident With No Ties To The Irwins says:

      Beautifully said! It’s evident even from the title of this article where the author stands. I’m glad to see journalists that still believe in journalism; it seems far too often that you see people write articles full of bias and falsehoods only to claim that they depict “news”.

  35. Bill Morrelll says:

    I’ve got a very sweet 2-year-old Maltipoo I’ll donate to the Irwins if it will make everyone connected, or with an opinion on, either “Tiny” or Brutus” calm down. I’ll even drive him to Anchorage and deliver him myself, so I can meet them first–nothing about their care of animals, I would do this for anyone before I decide they’re a good fit.

    Email me if interested.

    Bill Morrell

  36. 54 comments, wow! I can only imagine how many comments there would have been if we had thrown in mandatory fluoride treatments for all animals before leaving the sheltor.

  37. Tiny (aka Brutus) says:

    Ruff, ruff. “pant pant pant” Woof woof “sniff” Grrrrrrr woof!

  38. I’d also like to add that micro chipping is not proof of ownership. This has been upheld by the courts. It is a tool for recovering your animal should it be lost. When the Irwins adopted Tiny from AAC they were his legal owner per their adoption contract. They actually were able to adopt due to a similar situation his old owner did not retrieve him in time from AAC thus surrendering him. Micro chipping is for the sole purpose of reuniting owners with lost pets.

  39. Wow–will all the pressing issues in Seward–this ends up polarizing the community–How bout the desperate need for foster parents in Seward and the entire Kenai Peninsula–Anybody interested in rescuing a child!