MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man is trying desperately to find his puppy he says an emergency animal hospital gave away without his permission.
Christopher Jones said he took his seven-week-old blue American Staffordshire Terrier Zeus to the after-hours Animal Emergency Center on Summer Avenue last week to be treated for a suspected case of parvo. Days later, he said the puppy was gone because he hadn’t paid his bill.
“At first she was trying to make it like, if you don’t have the money to pay us we can just give him some IV fluids. If you don’t have money for this procedure you can just pay for this procedure but you have to get him to a vet real soon,” said Jones. “I was like, if this is an emergency room I just need to you treat him and we’ll take care of the bill later.”
Jones admits he left his sick puppy with the animal hospital for three days while he was trying to get the money to pay a nearly $500 bill and that he didn’t communicate with them during one of those days because his phone had been turned off, but said he told them he was going to pay and never agreed to surrender his dog.
“She is texting me and I’m texting her. She was like, ‘Well, if I don’t hear from you by this time I’ll contact the Memphis shelter,'” said Jones.
In a series of text messages Jones shared with WREG, someone from the AEC tells Jones if he wants to surrender the puppy to them they can find a rescue group to take it. Jones, though, replied back that he couldn’t do that and he was trying to get the rest of the money.
In another text, they tell him the Memphis animal shelter has three rescue groups on standby to take Zeus and that if the dog isn’t picked by 2 p.m. that day he will picked up by the shelter.
In a text sent the next day, Jones told them had the money and wanted to know when he could pick up his dog. He was shocked when they told him he had already been picked by the shelter.
“I never said I couldn’t pay it — not ever one time did I tell her I could not pay this money,” said Jones.
Jones said he called Memphis Animal Services, but was told they didn’t have the dog. Jones said he also talked to the regional manager of the AEC who said they were trying to get his dog back.
“He said something wasn’t right about the situation because they weren’t supposed to give away the dog in those two days, you know. They are supposed to wait ten days and they have to send a certified letter,” said Jones. “I haven’t signed my dog over to them. You can’t just give someone’s dog away.
We contacted The Animal Emergency Center to find out what happened to the dog, but were told administrators were trying to get in touch with all parties involved before releasing any information.
So far, we have not heard back from them, but a woman who answered the phone told us they were trying to work with the dog’s owner.
A spokesperson for MAS said they knew what puppy we were talking about, but wouldn’t say if the dog was at their shelter.
MAS told us they are waiting to hear back from Animal Emergency Center’s legal department on next steps to gain some clarity on the situation and at this time had no other comment.
Jones said right now he just wants to know who has his dog and if he is still alive.