Annie the Dog was returned to her original owner, Chuck Hoage, on Monday, several weeks after news broke that the 8-year-old Australian shepherd had been adopted to a new family.
Annie went missing in June and ended up at the county animal shelter a week later, where she was adopted. Hoage wanted her back; supporters numbering in the thousands have urged the two to be brought back together.
“At 5:05 (p.m.), Annie was brought to me, so we are united,” Hoage said Monday. “She’s home with me now.”
Earlier in the day, Hoage said the past few weeks have been “terrible.”
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“I notice I’m getting pretty grouchy with co-workers and my friends,” he said. “It really is affecting me.”
During the past month, more than 4,100 people concerned about Hoage have joined a Facebook group called “Friends of Annie.”
Meanwhile, Arroyo Grande police officers had stepped up patrols of the adoptive owners’ neighborhood, who live in that city. Cmdr. John Hough said police have not noticed anything odd during their patrols.
Officers patrolling the area make a note of whenever they drive by, Hough said, but the stepped-up patrols do not affect officers’ schedules or result in an increase in overtime costs.
A letter penned by a woman appearing to be the adoptive owner on Friday rejected calls from the public to reveal the owner’s identity, and says her family has received anonymous hang-up phone calls and seen two unfamiliar vehicles parked outside their house.
“I hope no one ever has to endure an adoptive experience like this one,” wrote “Sasha Sampson.” She added: “The right thing would not to be folding and returning Annie however personal threats tend to work miracles.”
The Tribune was unable to independently verify that Annie’s adoptive owner wrote the letter, which was also submitted to other media outlets and county officials. The Tribune also received a recording of voicemail messages reportedly left on the adoptive owner’s machine.
County Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson said he has reason to believe the letter was written by the owner, and that it indicated “they’re hoping to get that resolution in sort of a quiet and private way.”
“This is a really unusual case,” said county Supervisor Adam Hill, who owns two Australian shepherds. “Hopefully it will be resolved and that will be the end of it, and hopefully people will continue to adopt dogs. We don’t want anything to deter people from adopting dogs or any pets that we have at the shelter.”