DAVENPORT, Fla. - Imagine losing your pet, searching high and low before it's finally found, but then the finder won’t give it up.
That’s what is happening between a dog owner and another woman in Polk County.
Law enforcement says it cannot get involved, claiming it’s a civil matter. The only option left is court.
“I was looking for her all day and all night,” Luangie Rodriguez said.
She was cleaning her car in January when her dog slipped out of the house undetected. Not worried at first, Luangie thought her mini-schnauzer would come home. She never did .
Two months later, her dog Mia still isn’t home, but Luangie believes she knows she took her.
“Nobody saw her around here, nobody,” Luangie said.
She went door to door at The Ridge community in Davenport, looking for her dog, but no one had spotted the all-white pup.
“I went to the police department and they said they couldn’t help me because she’s not microchipped,” Luangie said.
She never had either of her dogs chipped, but they both have a collar with a heart-shaped ID card. But she never received a call or tip about her dog.
Unfortunately, Jennifer Dietz, an animal law attorney, says this happens quite frequently.
Dietz says she sees cases like this come across her desk as least twice a month, but the only way to retrieve your rightful ownership is to head to court.
“Because animals are treated as property, the courts can’t say like they do with a child what is the best interest of the animal, so what they have to do is they have to find another way to determine ownership,” Dietz said.
Microchipping your dog isn’t the best solution either, there’s more needed than that.
Dietz says have to records like vaccinations, vet records or grooming papers to prove it’s your pet. Also having testimony from neighbors and relatives can help.
But it’s not a cheap ordeal to head to small claims court either. Filing a case starts at around $500.
Despite the cost, or the headache, Luangie says she will do anything to get her dog back.
“We miss her and we want her back,” she says.
If you have any information regarding the all-white missing schnauzer, please call Luangie Rodriguez at (239) 202-3279.