A runaway dog brought to the Saskatoon SPCA by animal control officers is on the loose, again.
George, a 10-month-old pit bull-labrador, managed to get out of his kennel overnight Friday in the SPCA’s lost-and-found area.
Jasmine Hanson, education and public relations co-ordinator for the Saskatoon SPCA, said George had to unlock two doors to get out.
The first was the lift-latch on his kennel.
“It’s not an easy latch for a dog to get through, but it can happen,” Hanson said.
She said larger dogs in particular can sometimes get the latches open.
“They are able to just kind of jump up and lift the latch a little bit, then the door will swing outward.”
George then got by a second door — the one to get him outside — that has a handle. It unlocks from the inside.
“He would have jumped up and pushed his paw on that handle and then the door would have swung open for him,” Hanson said.
While there’s no video of George walking out the door, the Saskatoon SPCA does have footage from an exterior camera showing him going by the perimeter of the building. From there, they can’t tell which direction he headed.
Hanson said the organization is “100 per cent” certain no staff were involved in the brazen break-out — mostly given the overnight timing.
She also stressed George’s escape — from within the building — is rare. More often, an animal might take off as someone is bringing them into the building.
“While some people may think they’ve heard of this happening before, it’s an extremely rare occurrence,” she said, adding there have been one or two similar incidents in the last several years.
“For the most part, we’re usually able to locate the animal really quickly.”
Reviewing kennels, communication
On Wednesday, five days after George took off, the Saskatoon SPCA posted a public appeal on its Facebook page in an effort to find the dog.
“If you happen to see George in the Grasswood area, south of Saskatoon, please give us a call at 306-374-7387 so we may contact the owner,” the post reads.
The organization also addressed a lengthy delay in letting George’s owner know he went missing in their care. On Wednesday morning, Hanson said they only made contact with the owner one to two days later.
“We are very regretful we weren’t able to notify the owner immediately,” Hanson told 650 CKOM, adding they are currently reviewing communications procedure with staff.
George’s owner, Cheyenna Sapp, emailed 650 CKOM Wednesday afternoon.
“Salute to the SPCA for their efforts, but they failed to mention that when I went to get George on Monday, they told me he was missing since just the night before – not Friday,” she wrote.
“I found out from your article that he was gone on Friday night. That means when I called on Sunday to ask if I could pick him up, he was already gone from the building for two nights.”
Sapp said instead of just letting her know, they asked her to come the next day and speak to a manager. The Saskatoon SPCA has since confirmed a staff member only shared the information on Monday.
“I’ve spoken to the director since reading your story and she confirmed that he was missing since Friday and there was a ‘miscommunication,'” Sapp said. “She apologized and said they are taking measures to ensure this doesn’t happen to other owners in the future.”
Hanson said the shelter has notified neighbours and called police in the RM of Corman Park.
“We’ve also setup a humane, live dog trap on our property,” she said. “We wanted to make sure all those were done before making a post to the public.”
Hanson said the shelter has already added an additional lock on the kennels in light of the incident. They’ll also be looking at adding a lock to the exterior door.
“Just one time is too many. So we’re going to be looking at a stronger deadbolt, above the reach of any dog, no matter what the size.”
The Saskatoon SPCA said it will notify the public and media once George is located.
—With files from Daniella Ponticelli.