Animal care services warn to think twice before taking in a stray animal
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Animal Care Services offers insight into what could happen if you take in a stray animal.
What started as a good deed for one woman led to several bills.
Tiffany Qualin is an animal lover, even getting up during her KSAT interview to help out the neighbor’s pup after he gets out of his yard.
But after helping a stray dog last month, Qualin swears no more.
“I won’t help another animal anymore. And that’s really unfortunate, it breaks my heart,” Qualin said.
In November, a stray dog, now named Emmet, showed up at Qualin’s property in poor condition. She spent $1,100 the week she cared for the animal before calling San Antonio Animal Care Services to pick it up.
His good deed had unintended consequences.
“You are the primary caregiver for this animal and you brought it into your home. You know, there are obligations defined by state law,” said Shannon Sims, director of animal care services.
Sims said Qualin’s act of kindness to the dog made her the animal’s legal owner.
“It comes with a huge commitment,” Sims said.
This commitment was further reinforced when Qualin once again picked up Emmet from ACS to try and bring him back herself. She faced a “claim to owner” fee of $131 split into impound, boarding, vaccination and microchipping fees.
“I’m being punished for a good deed because after I got home my nephew took him that day and never saw the dog again,” Qualin explained.
A month later, a $300 citation from the ACS for not having Emmet sterilized, which she says she unknowingly agreed to do when she signed a parole form.
Sims said it was only part of the process.
“She got this animal back. She took that responsibility and actually got a notice that you need to have that animal repaired within 30 days,” Sims said.
While Sims is sensitive to Qualin’s plight, he hopes it will make people more careful about opening their homes to stray animals that aren’t in their care.
“The last thing I want to hear is someone with the best intentions in mind getting into a bad spot,” Sims said.
If you have a stray animal hanging around your home, Sims recommends calling 311 and not allowing the animal into your home. ACS will pick it up, so you will have no legal responsibility for the animal.
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