Animal Control Out Of Control

| CA, USA | Liars & Scammers, Pets & Animals

(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 the 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.)


A Pet Is For Life, Not Four Minutes

| MI, USA | Pets & Animals, Popular, Time

(An older man and his daughter come into the animal shelter. His daughter is wearing slippers in public.)

Me: “Hello! Is there anything I can help you with?”

Man: “Yeah, I want a kitten.”

Me: “Okay, well we only have one really young kitten right now. She is about four months old an—”

Man: *interrupts me* “Yeah, I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Well, you have to spend some time with her and make sure that she has the personality you’re looking for.”

(We take the kitten into the adoption room so he can spend time with her and so I can further counsel the adoption. The man spends about four minutes with the kitten and comes back out holding her. I go up and take the kitten.)

Me: “Is everything okay?”

Man: “Yeah, I want that kitten.”

Me: “Well, I need you to spend at least fifteen minutes with her. The time you spent with her isn’t enough to get to know her, and I’ll have to ask some questions.”

Man: *getting annoyed* “I just want this kitten.”

Me: “You have to spend more time with her so we can make sure she is going to the right home.”

Man: “I’m a good pet owner! I just want the kitten!”

Me: “I’m not saying you aren’t. You just have to spend more time with her.”

Man: “Well, I have stuff to do! I can’t spend all day here!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you are required to spend more time with her if you want to adopt from us.”

(The man stares at me blankly for a minute, throws his arms up and starts to walk out. At this point his daughter chimes in.)

Daughter: “You people are ridiculous!”

(She promptly followed her dad out and left.)

A Little Bird Told Me That This Customer Is An A**

| USA | Bad Behavior, Pets & Animals

(I work at an animal shelter that only takes dogs and cats. Despite this, a man walks in with a scarlet macaw in what looks like one of those old-fashioned hanging canary cages that is obviously much too small for it.)

Me: “Can I help you, sir?”

Man: “I don’t want this parrot anymore.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but this shelter only takes cats and dogs. We don’t have the necessary provisions to care for exotic birds.”

Man: “What do you mean you don’t take birds? You’ve always taken birds here!”

Me: “No, sir, I’m pretty sure we haven’t. Only cats and dogs.”

Man: “What am I supposed to do with this thing then? I bought it for my daughter’s sixth birthday two months ago but she got bored with it already because it doesn’t talk! All it does is scream!”

(Almost as if by command, the parrot starts screaming. I have to start talking loudly to be heard over it.)

Me: “Well, sir, I actually have a list here of other shelters and rescues in the immediate area, and I can give you the address of a bird rescue that’s a few blocks from here, or if you’d prefer, I know of a vet clinic that accepts animals that their owners can no longer care for. I’m pretty sure they accept birds.”

Man: “I don’t have time for this! I have things to do! I’ll just leave it here and you can take the bird there yourself!”

Me: “I can’t do that for you, sir. You’re going to have to take the bird.”

Man: “So are you saying you aren’t going to take the parrot for me?”

Me: “Yes sir, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Man: “This is unbelievable!”

(He storms out with the screaming parrot and makes sure to slam the door on the way out. A coworker who was in the back comes out to check on me.)

Coworker: “Did that man just say he bought a parrot for his daughter’s sixth birthday and now they don’t want it just because it doesn’t talk?”

Me: “Yes, he really did.”

Coworker: “Wow. They really need to make it mandatory to take a test to prove you actually know what you’re doing to weed out the idiots before you can get pets.”

Me: “You should have seen the cage it was in, too. There weren’t any toys and it was really small and something tells me that it wasn’t just a travel cage.”

(Nothing much happened after that until about an hour later when an elderly woman came in.)

Me: “How can I help you, ma’am?”

Woman: “Oh, I would just like to adopt another cat, preferably one that’s a little older.”

Me: “Certainly, ma’am. I’ll gladly help you find the right cat for you.”

Woman: “Also did you know there’s a parrot sitting in a cage outside?”

Me: “There’s what?”

(Sure enough, the man left the parrot sitting outside on the sidewalk, exposed to the cold November air. We brought the bird in and warmed him up and despite having sat out in the cold for an hour, he was perfectly okay. The man had the audacity to come in a week later with his daughter, who acted like a spoiled brat the entire time, and demanded to adopt a puppy, but thankfully when I told my boss who he was, she let us refuse to give them an animal. The story had a happy ending, though. One of my coworkers stopped in to pick up her paycheck and saw us with the parrot and immediately fell in love with him and decided to take him home with her. He got along well with her other parrot and now has a happy home with someone who doesn’t care that he doesn’t talk. She named him Screechy.)

A Very Purr-sonable Cat

| Dearborn, OH, USA | Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals

(I work at a shelter that has a big Maine Coon cat that has the run of the place. He never goes outside and likes to sit on the lap of whoever is at the computer working. Even though he’s huge, about 28 pounds, most of it is muscle. He’s a very docile cat and loves people. For the most part, our customers love him.)

Coworker: “[My Name], we got some people pulling in. Can you grab Corky?”

(I grab the Maine Coon and set him on the counter in a crouched position, holding his flank lightly to keep him still. He’s already trilling excitedly at the thought of guests.)

Coworker: “Hi, welcome to [Shelter]. Can we help you?”

(A woman, man, and two kids wander in.)

Woman: “Yes, we’d like to take a look at your kittens.”

Coworker: “Sure. [My Name], can you take them to the cat room?”

Me: “Sure. Here, take Corky.”

(I go to hand her Corky and the woman suddenly screams.)

Woman: “That’s a Lynx! You have a LYNX here!”

(She grabs her kids and yanks them back.)

Me: “Oh, no, ma’am, this is Corky, our resident Maine Coon. He’s not a Lynx; he’s just a very large breed of cat.”

Man: “What the h*** kind of place is this?! Those animals are dangerous! Why do you have one running around where children are?!”

Me: “Uh, sir? Maine Coons are extremely friendly. The biggest danger to your kids is he’d just knock them over by accident.”

Woman: “How DARE you threaten my babies! I’m reporting this awful place and have you arrested for harboring that vicious thing!”

(They storm out, leaving us to stare after them in bafflement. We got a visit later from a local police officer.)

Officer: “Hey, I got a call about a ‘vicious rabid animal’ on the loose in this building.”

(I pick Corky up off the counter. Corky is a happy combination of purring and trilling at the sight of him.)

Officer: “Uh huh, that’s what I thought.”

Introduction To Reality

| CA, USA | Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

(We do dog intros with the owner’s dog and our dog to make sure that when our dog goes home it won’t attack their dog and vice versa. During the intros we ask the owner to wait outside so that we can see how their dog reacts one on one with the other dog. The dog the old woman has picked to do a dog intro with isn’t friendly with her dog at all. She tried to bite several times and the woman’s dog looks very uncomfortable.)

Me: “Unfortunately, your dog and our dog didn’t get along, so I am not able to approve this dog intro. But if there is another dog that you like we can do another dog intro.”

Older Woman: “But I wanted that one. I want her!”

Me: “I am really sorry but I cannot let you take that puppy home. She tried to bite your dog.”

Older Woman: “But that’s the dog I want. OH, I really want her. I am going to take her home.”

Me: “She was being really unfriendly with your dog. Your dog was being very nice, but was trying to get away from her. I would be happy to do another dog intro, though, if you have another dog in mind.”

(She keeps telling me how much she wants the dog.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, we are not allowed to let you take the dog home. She would just attack your dog.”

Older Woman: “Okay, I’ll see if there are anymore dogs.”

Me: “That sounds great! Unfortunately you cannot take your dog out to the kennels, but I would be happy to hold your dog for you while you look!”

Older Woman: “Okay.”

(I sat in the lobby with her dog for almost an hour, waiting. People went out into the kennels to make sure she was still there. Eventually she came back and said she didn’t want to see any other dogs and left still mumbling about how she still wanted that dog.)

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