Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On Annie the Dog

Not Hoage’s fault

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the circumstances under which Annie ran off. Please visit http://tinyurl.com/ReturnAnnie and listen to the recordings of the radio interviews with Chuck Hoage.

Annie was waiting in the back of Hoage’s parked truck on his ranch while Hoage fed his horses. Hoage followed all of the procedures as prescribed by Animal Services — called in and reported Annie missing and called back daily to check the hotline.

Annie’s description did not appear on the hotline recording. Animal Services adopted Annie out six days before Hoage received the call telling him that Annie was at Animal Services.

I believe the root cause of this heartbreaking tale is that Animal Services is so inept and behind that they did not record a correct verbal description of Annie, nor did they come upon Hoage’s missing dog report until after the adoption had taken place.

None of this is Hoage’s fault, nor is it the fault of the family that adopted Annie. But it is the fault of the adoptive family that this error has not been corrected by sending Annie home. They are the only ones who can make this tragic story have a happy ending.

Judie Hagstrom


Return Annie

My beloved Aussie, Willie, was euthanized three months ago due to the ravages of old age. He was 13 and had been the love of my life from the beginning of his. His death has left a huge hole in my heart, and I expect that many folks experience the same grief when they lose their best friend, regardless of the circumstances.

I do not believe that any dog should be riding in the back of a truck, either tethered or untethered. I think it is a dangerous practice both for the animal and other drivers. I hope the story of Annie serves as a lesson to those who leave their dogs loose in the the back of a pickup. 

On the other hand, having just suffered the loss of my best friend, I think that the people who now have Annie must (either out of compassion and thoughtfulness or by public or legal pressure) return her to her rightful owner.  

I’m sure that Chuck Hoage will never put Annie in this position again and the people who now have the dog should put themselves in Hoage’s shoes. Do for him what you would want someone else to do for you.    

Sheryl Fisher-Acosta

Paso Robles

Shame on adopters

The story about Chuck Hoage and his dog, Annie, is one of the saddest stories I have ever read. That is Hoage’s dog, and she should be given back to him without delay.

To the people who now have Annie, shame on you! What kind of lesson are you teaching your children? I have never heard of such ugly and selfish people. Give that dog back now.

Simply explain to your kids that the dog does not belong to them and that the rightful owner has been found, so Annie must be given back. How would your kids feel if they lost their dog of seven years and someone found her, but would not give her back? Explain that.

A pet, whether it be a dog, cat, bird, etc., becomes part of the family and sometimes like a child if that is all they have. It is like a death in the family when they die.

I hope you are not calling yourselves Christian because Christians do not behave in this ugly manner. I do hope you reconsider and give Annie back to her rightful owner, Hoage.

Agnes Salisbury


Right vs. wrong

Why is it so hard for people these days to do the right thing? To the new owners of Annie, just do the right thing and give back the dog to its owner.

Set the example, be the understanding person, be the hero and be recognized for doing the right thing, more so than for doing the wrong thing.

Carole Tell

Santa Maria

Keepers losers

The taunting phrase, “finders keepers, losers weepers,” echoed in my memory as I read the story of Annie. Yes, the owner of this cherished dog made a serious mistake by not having a collar with a license on it, and it seems the county procedure of matching the dog and the owner didn’t work properly.

And while there is real empathy for the man who has lost Annie, his family, there also needs to be equal concern for Annie. Animals have strong bonds with their human families. There are many true stories of dogs making long journeys to return to their families.

Public opinion is making an appeal for Annie’s return based not on legal grounds, but on compassion. The new family has an opportunity for their children to participate in a real learning experience about how “right” means more than law, about consideration for the feelings of others and about kindness to animals.

Sometimes folks give up something and it hurts, but it’s the right thing to do. The children learn to be proud of themselves because they are generous, kind and fair. Grown-ups, don’t set the example of “finders keepers, losers weepers.” Often the keepers are the real losers.

Patricia Wagner

Arroyo Grande

No more donations

As a huge animal lover, I was really saddened to hear about Annie’s situation. I have been a dog lover since I was a boy, and my dogs are more than just pets, they are family members.

You can be sure Annie is just as devastated as her owner. A dog, and especially a smart breed like an Aussie, will never stop looking for their family. This has been proven many times over. Some dogs have made treks clear across the country searching for their lost owners. Sounds crazy, but it is true.

This outcome is absolutely the most unjust, unfair and tragic that it could possibly be. The adoptive family is sadly missing the point of what owning and loving an animal is all about. As a regular contributor to the local animal shelter, sadly, I have made my last donation.

John Feliciano

Paso Robles

Familiar story

It has been incredibly painful to read the articles about Chuck Hoage losing his precious Annie. The story closely echoes my own. I lost my Katie a couple of years ago, never to see her again.

Katie lived in the country and was a very social dog who loved to hang out at a nearby winery. When Katie first went missing, I presumed she was safe in her second home.

At the same time, my father was dying in Santa Barbara and I was spending a lot of time and energy focused on him. When I finally realized something was wrong, it was too late. Animal Services had plac-ed Katie with someone else, and I could not get her back. I was never permitted to see Katie again. She never slept on the comforter next to my bed again, and I never had the chance to hug her and tell her how much I loved her.

Katie was my precious girl for more than 10 years. I still miss her and my heart aches, knowing I will never see her again. I completely understand Hoage’s pain. I hope that Animal Services will show him the mercy they refused me.

Linda Midkiff

Paso Robles

Another chance

I agree with Joyce Albright’s letter to the editor (“Treat dogs like kids,” Aug. 15) in that I also do not like seeing dogs loose in the back of a truck. But what makes me wonder is when a parent has a kid removed from their custody because of some type of neglect, if they correct the issue that caused the child to be taken away, the child comes home.

If Chuck Hoage promises to secure Annie when she is riding in the back of the truck, should he not get her back? I think so.

Mary Ann Millington

San Luis Obispo