FORT WORTH — An afternoon meant to warm the hearts of dog lovers instead only ignited tempers when more than 100 people were told at an adoption event on Sunday that dozens of neglected dogs would not be handed out after all.
“A lot of them are so upset they left,” said Jerry Payne about the people who were hoping to take home a new pet.
Payne drove four hours from Shreveport to the Humane Society of North Texas shelter on East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth after reading that dozens of neglected dogs abandoned last week on rural Denton County roads would be available for adoption.
Their story so touched him he made the trip and stood in line for hours to be among the first to get one of the neglected Spaniels.
Hours after arriving, however, he was told the dogs would not be available on Sunday.
“Everybody’s that been here feels like they’ve kind of been ripped off,” he said. “We’re not exactly happy with the Humane Society.”
The size of the rescue — along with the demand to help — overwhelmed rescue personnel, the Humane Society admitted Sunday. Miscommunication led to conflicting messages.
Directors decided to instead accept applications from people hoping to adopt. Once the applications have been screened, the dogs will be given to families.
“It’s a unique situation for us,” admitted Shelly Meeks with the Humane Society. “We didn’t know quite how to handle it, and unfortunately some misinformation did get put out there.”
On Sunday, the agency’s website still advised that some dogs would be available for adoption on Sunday.
Potential pet recipients also complained about how the dogs would be distributed. Directors decided it should be a lottery, while others hoped it would be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“They’re going to draw straws,” Payne said, “but the people who got here five minutes ago have as just a good a chance as anybody who’s been here all along.”
Meeks says the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are severely neglected and will need at least $1,000 in veterinarian care. The Spaniels were among nearly 100 purebred dogs found over two days in Denton County.
The dogs were split among rescue groups and adoption agencies across North Texas. Some of the animals will require extensive dental work that otherwise could endanger their lives.
“These guys came from a bad situation,” Meeks said. "We want to make sure they go to a good one.”
Right now, the dogs aren’t going anywhere. But Jerry Payne is going home to Shreveport.
“You know, the sad part about this is these dogs are in really bad shape, and these people really love these dogs,” he said. “That’s why I’m here, and it’s just not going to work out that way.”