Family's heartbreak after rescue shelter finds four-year-old boy's beloved lost dog and SELLS her to a 'better' home after refusing to return her to original owners

  • Raffiki, a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy, went missing on February 13
  • Owner Rosa Torres posted flyers, started Facebook page to get dog back
  • Son Daniel, 4, 'cries whenever he looks at her picture'
  • Raffiki's image was discovered a week later on website for shelter Karma Rescue under new name 'Kami'
  • Torres left voicemail with shelter to get dog back BEFORE new owners' paperwork and final approval went through
  • Shelter says Torres 'did not meet qualifications' to own a pet and that the dog was not microchipped or spayed
  • Dog was scheduled to be microchipped and spayed three days after it went missing

By Daily Mail Reporter

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A mother who searched high and low for her son's beloved lost dog was devastated to find that a rescue agency had taken in the animal... only to refuse to give her back.

Instead of reuniting the pet and her owner, the agency said it was too late because they had already arranged an adoption to a 'better' home.

Rosa Torres searched her Panorama City neighborhood, posted on Craigslist and started a Facebook page when Raffiki, her Rhodesian ridgeback puppy, went missing on February 13, the LA Times reports.

After a week's search, a volunteer saw that Raffiki's image was up on a website for shelter Karma Rescue, listing her for adoption under the name Kami. Karma Rescue is 10 miles from Torres' home.

Daniel Torres, 4, cries whenever he looks at pictures of Raffiki -- who was adopted by a new family under the name 'Kami'

Daniel Torres, 4, cries whenever he looks at pictures of Raffiki -- who was adopted by a new family under the name 'Kami'

Rosa Torres, the dog's original owner, claimed her application to own her own dog back was rejected because she 'lives in a bad neighborhood'

Rosa Torres, the dog's original owner, claimed her application to own her own dog back was rejected because she 'lives in a bad neighborhood'

Torres told the paper that she has fought to get Raffiki back -- but was told by the shelter she could not do anything after another family paid a $300 'adoption contribution' and took her home on February 21.

'I'll do whatever it takes,' she said. 'She's not just an animal, she's a part of our family. My 4-year-old son [Daniel] cries whenever he looks at her picture. We just want her back.'

Torres said she even applied on Karma Rescue's website to adopt her own dog back and called the shelter but did not receive a response.

Raffiki, seen playing with Daniel, 4, is 'part of our family,' mother Rosa Torres says. 'We just want her back'

Raffiki, seen playing with Daniel, 4, is 'part of our family,' mother Rosa Torres says. 'We just want her back'

Though Torres' application was reportedly rejected because Raffiki had not been microchipped or spayed, the dog was scheduled to do so three days before it went missing

Though Torres' application was reportedly rejected because Raffiki had not been microchipped or spayed, the dog was scheduled to do so three days before it went missing

When pressed by the paper, Karma Rescue said that Torres' application did not meet its qualifications for pet owners. As Torres' pet, the dog reportedly was not microchipped, spayed, or have ID tags.

A lawyer for Karma Rescue, Susan Willis, also told The Times that 'had [Rosa Torres] been a little more diligent, we would have spoken with her.'

 

The dog was scheduled to be spayed and microchipped on February 16, CBS Los Angeles reports. Torres believes she was not considered because she lives in a 'bad part of town.'

The decision to place the dog with a new family has even caused a rift inside Karma Rescue. Jessica Gary, a volunteer with the shelter, reportedly resigned over the 'elitism' she saw.

Torres' call to the shelter to get the dog back was placed over an hour before her new owners submitted an online application

Torres' call to the shelter to get the dog back was placed over an hour before her new owners submitted an online application

Torres found this listing from nearby shelter Karma Rescue, showing a picture of her dog under the name 'Kami.' Karma Rescue is located 10 miles from Torres' residence

Torres found this listing from nearby shelter Karma Rescue, showing a picture of her dog under the name 'Kami.' Karma Rescue is located 10 miles from Torres' residence

Today, Karma Rescue published a statement on its Facebook page, defending its decision to place the dog with a new family. The letter confirms that Torres contacted the shelter before the dog's adoption and that it did not check its voicemail messages before the adoption.

'On February 21 at 6:03 p.m., Karma received, and approved, an adoption application for Kami, and requested the applicant family have an in-person meet-and-greet with her,' it reads. 'That family met Kami at NKLA and took her home that day.'

'At 6:54 p.m. that evening, Karma Rescue received an e-mail containing a second application for Kami from "Rosa Torres." However, this application was not reviewed until after the adoption was complete. Karma received a voicemail at 4:57 p.m. from "Rosa Torres" in which she claimed to be the dog's owner. Karma had not been aware of this voicemail until after the adoption had taken place.'

Karma Rescue published this statement regarding the dispute over the dog's ownership

Karma Rescue published this statement regarding the dispute over the dog's ownership

Meanwhile, Torres is continuing to look for signatures for her online petition, asking for the new owners to return the dog

Meanwhile, Torres is continuing to look for signatures for her online petition, asking for the new owners to return the dog

The shelter, however, says that Torres should have contacted them 'sooner.'

'At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 22, Karma contacted "Rosa Torres" to let her know Kami had already been adopted. She was also informed that had she contacted the organization sooner, Karma would have been in a better position to reunite her with the dog.'

The shelter also says that a woman named 'Lexi Quinn' has launched a social media assault against Karma Rescue.

'There have been inflammatory, misleading, outright false onling postings regarding Karma Rescue and and the events surrounding Kami's adoption,' it says.

The shelter also says the $300 may be waived when new owners have 'limited resources.'

Meanwhile, Torres has set up an online petition asking for the dog to be returned by its new owners.

The comments below have not been moderated.

First, your headline is completely fake - rescues & shelters don't SELL animals. I am a board member & volunteer with a rescue & we charge adoption fees because it is staggeringly expensive to care for all the animals we rescue. Last week we had one cat that cost $1600 in vet bills. The monstrous lies about "wouldn't take him if he were a mongrel, no re-sell value" is a disgusting lie. We take in blind, deaf & paralyzed animals all the time. Why didn't you tell everyone this woman lives in a tiny house with her parents & son, she can't afford to live on her own. Yet took in a huge dog - why? How would she pay for his vet care? How did he get lost? She won't tell anyone. Why wasn't he chipped/spayed? Tags only cost $1 yet he didn't have tags either. She was irresponsible & no wants everyone to feel sorry for her. Would you feel sorry for all the puppies born to an unneutered animal that an owner let get loose? Would you pay for them, adopt them?

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get your pups microchipped when they are vaccinated. It's simple and cheap and will almost guarantee you get it back if it gets lost.

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You can bet if it was a mongrel (no re-sell value) they wouldn't have even taken it in.....

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The shelter just wants the $300 "donation." If they were to actually give the dog back to the rightful owner, then they would make nothing. Greed, pure and simple.

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Something is missing in this story..

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Yes - the dog

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Please give the little dog back. He's obviously come from a loving family who are distraught

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Love is NOT all you need, despite the sappy songs. The dog wasn't fixed, had no tags, no microchip, had never seen a vet. Why did that woman even have such a big dog when she clearly couldn't care for her?

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Surely this is theft? It was only 9 days from the dog going missing to actually going to it's new home, should there not have been a minimum time until rehoming in case her owners were located??

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99% of dogs that go missing owners don't show up. By law legal hold is 5 day's which the shelter did.

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Dogs are property. Notice how the "shelter" caged it's words on the "ownership" of the dog. Also in California, when you "adopt" a pet from a certified shelter you don't actually own the pet. The "pink slip" stays with the shelter. This is to keep people from re-selling animals.

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In our state the law is that dogs must be spayed or neutered. It is a law. There is no law about it being micro chipped. All rescue centers spay or neuter their dogs and place a microchip. All dogs must have ID. If this dog was a year old it should of already be spayed, and it would have identification. Dogs that get picked up from the streets, usually have ID, and owners come in and collect them. If they don't then the dogs are adopted out. We have had several cases of original owners not being responsible and losing their dogs to adoption.

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It has been reported some human shelters actually have their people go out find animals and remove the collar when they pick the dog up and take it in and sell it ! Big bucks in it !!!

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dogs shouldn't be roaming the streets no matte rwhat. there is no proof this shelter did this. the family was too late and lost out.

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