This family is fighting like a dog to get its lost pooch back.
When Rosa Torres’ 8-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy Raffiki went missing last month, she scoured their Panorama City neighborhood and put impassioned pleas on the Internet.
Torres finally located the pooch, but an animal rescue group had found the dog and gave it to another family — and refuses to return the hound to its original owner, according to reports.
Now Torres and Karma Rescue are fighting like hounds over a hunk of steak over little Raffiki, who has since been renamed to Kami and is living 10 miles away in the San Fernando Valley.
“I’ll compensate the family that has her,” Torres told the L.A. Times. “I’ll do whatever it takes. She’s not just an animal, she’s a part of our family. My 4-year-old son cries whenever he looks at her picture. We just want her back.”
The puppy was held for seven days in the West Valley Animal Shelter before the rescue group took ownership on Feb. 20.
“Had she been a little more diligent, we would have spoken with her,” Karma Rescue’s lawyer Susan Willis told the Times.
Kami was adopted the following day, but shelter officials admitted that Torres had left a voicemail hours later that she was the dog’s owner.
Torres, Karma Rescue claims, then went on an underhanded campaign under the pseudonym Lexi Queen — bashing the group and threatening to protest outside its offices.
The dog spent seven days at the West Valley Animal Shelter before Karma Rescue claimed the pup to save it from being put down.
“The proliferation of false accusations and the spread of rampant misinformation breaks out hearts and dampens our power as an organization that can effect good change for the animals and owners in our community,” Karma Rescue said in a statement.
An online petition with 645 signatures has cropped up pushing the group to return the dog.
Kami was due to receive microchipping before the disappearance and Torres believes that she wasn’t allowed to have her dog back because she lives in a cramped adobe in a “bad part of town,” she told CBS Los Angeles.
“How do I explain it to my son, you know? ‘I’m sorry, but a rescue doesn’t want to help us get your dog back,’” Torres told the station.
Karma Rescue said that it contacted local authorities and determined that it was legally allowed to transfer ownership of the pooch to the new owners.
It’s unclear if Torres will pursue a lawsuit to get her dog back.
“We regret any pain that these events have caused,” Karma Rescue said. “We will continue to advocate tirelessly on behalf of the animals of our city and the people who love them.”