Issues with open pet adoption policy after owner returns malnourished dog

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Zion the pit bull is now in the custody of the Vegas Pet Rescue Project after being returned by his owner in an alarming condition.

A volunteer captured video of the dog being handed over to the Animal Foundation shelter by its owner. Zion was described as skeletal, malnourished and abused.

Zion the pit bull was returned by his owner a year after he was adopted. (KLAS)

Zion, formerly known as Rocko, is a three-year-old pit bull mix and was adopted a year ago from the shelter.

The Animal Foundation declined to be interviewed on camera, but says its open adoption policy is to check if the owner has an animal control background. If there is no prior record with animal control, the shelter will grant adoption access.

The open adoption policy under which many large shelters in the Valley operate does not include background checks, home checks, or routine checks of those seeking to adopt pets.

Zion’s previous owner had no relationship on file at the time of the adoption.

The Animal Foundation tells 8 News Now that if Zion was still in her care, she would have filed a report with Animal Control, as they have the previous owner’s contact details on file. However, because Sion is now with another organization, he is unable to do so.

The Animal Foundation also told 8 News Now that it was willing to share the former owner’s information with the Vegas Pet Project, which is now caring for Zion.

When an owner wishes to return a pet, they receive guidance, resources, and opportunities for rehoming the animal. The Animal Foundation says that in Zion’s case, her owner refused to do so.

Lori Heeran is executive director of the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and says it also operates under the same policy and that while many may not understand it, the policy is ultimately the most effective, which makes it easier for people. adopt pets.

“Open adoption is a conversation-based approach as opposed to strict policies such as stay-at-home checks that accommodation experts around the country say create barriers to adoption,” Heeran told 8 News Now. “I know when you see disturbing photographs like we did with the emaciated pit bull, people want to jump up and blame someone other than just except there are bad people out there. “

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