Animal Control Out Of Control

| Right | September 16, 2016

(A woman whose dog adoption I handled a few days prior is coming back to return the dog. Our return policy allows for refund or exchange within two weeks only if the animal has a life-threatening illness. This policy is covered, in detail, with every adopter. As I’m helping another customer on the next workstation, I hear my coworker struggling to maintain composure with an increasingly irate customer. I finish the transaction I’m on and hear the magic words:)

Customer: “Let me speak to your supervisor.”

(I turn and address the customer.)

Me: “Hi, I’m the Adoptions Lead. How can I help you?”

(She explains the same thing she’s been telling my coworker.)

Customer: “I have four dogs at home already and did not know that was the legal limit for theĀ area. The police came to my home for something unrelated and told me I had to get rid of my new dog. I want a refund for my adoption fee!”

(She even breaks down into hysterical crying, which she’d also done with my coworker.)

Me: “Ma’am, what my coworker here has already told you is correct. This does not fall within the refund policy. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to know the laws before taking a new pet into your home.”

Customer: “But YOU PEOPLE sell the animals! I told you how many dogs I had at home and you still adopted one out to me anyway. You should have known better! You should know the animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, first off, it is not our responsibility to know all the animal regulations of all the various cities and regions around here. It is always the consumer’s responsibility to make sure they are legal. We have adopters who come here from all over the state. I’ve had adopters from as much as four hours away, as well as out-of-state adopters. We couldn’t possibly know the regulations for all these areas. Secondly, we do contract with [City where the shelter is located] for animal control services, so we do know the guidelines for [City]. However, you do not live in [City].”

Customer: “But I’m just in [Town next to ours]! You should know the regulations for [Town]! You should have a book listing each nearby town and their animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s never going to happen. It is always the consumer’s responsibility and not ours.”

(She continued to argue with me over seller’s responsibility versus buyer’s, until I tell her:)

Me: “Look, we’re not going to agree on this, but we really don’t have to. All I can do for you right now is submit your request to the manager in charge of financials, who is off for the next two days, and see what he decides. Until then, you need to GO HOME, and wait for a response on his decision.”

Customer: “I’m not going to go home; I’m going to go to my lawyer!”

Me: “That’s your prerogative, ma’am. Have a great day.”

(She blows up a few more times over the wording of the request we sent to the manager.)

Customer: “This makes it sound like it’s my fault!”

Me: “Ma’am, this has been written out exactly the way you told it to us”

Customer: “Well, I want you to put in there that the police came out and said I had to return the dog”

Me: “It does say that”

Customer: “But it doesn’t say they gave me a written warning!”.

(Then she started crying at the desk for a few minutes. I was worried we’d have to call the police to remove her, but she finally left. After she left, a coworker told me she knew the lady’s ex-husband. The ex said she’d adopted the dog in an attempt to get her teenage son to spend more time with her instead of at his dad’s house. When that didn’t work, she called her ex and told him to come get “his son’s dog.” He replied that it was her dog and she’d have to take care of it. She threatened to set the dog loose on the street. He told her no, she had to either care for the dog, or take it back to the shelter. He said the police were never involved, which had never made any sense anyway, since police don’t really know enough about animal codes to enforce animal limit — they leave that to animal control.)

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