The woman who found the dogs and called the rescue organization ended up adopting them after a waiting period. But the original owner says that waiting period wasn't long enough for her to find them. And when she asked for the dogs back, she was told it was too late.
Angie Hunt has tons of pictures of her kids with their two beagles, Lucky and Hopscotch. But on June 21, the dogs escaped after a gas worker left a back gate ajar. After days of posting on Craigslist.org and Petsharbor.com, she was relieved to hear nearby Woodlands homeowners had her pets.
"I knocked on the door and asked the lady if she did find the beagles and she said yes, but she didn't have them anymore and to get off her property," Hunt said.
Her dogs had already been taken in by the Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue and adopted out.
"They tell the public to post the dogs that are found on Petharbor.com and that's the same site that we posted right after they went missing," said Hunt.
We knocked on the homeowner's door now in possession of the beagles. With a car in the driveway, no one answered, but the dogs were barking.
Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue has rescued 1,500 dogs since 1999. Their founder says the dogs were adopted out after they followed a seven-day rule.
"We have this seven days statue law and we follow it very closely. It not our first rodeo on people surfacing later and so we can't hold onto a dog indefinitely," said Sandra Kos of Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue.
However, an attorney specializing in dog cases says the law is on the original owner's side.
"It doesn't change the ownership of an animal just because someone found it. It's not finders keepers, losers weepers. You have right in your property," said Zandra Anderson of texaslawyer.com.
Rights or not, statutes or not, Hunt says it's a matter of ethics.
"Jiminy H. Cricket is all I have to say. Let your conscience be your guide," Hunt said.
The Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue says while they hold dogs for a full seven days before finding them a home, a typical shelter holds an animal for 72 hours before putting them down. The organization also says to prevent this from happening, you should microchip your pet.
Now Hunt is considering her options including legal action.