North Carolina woman fights to get cat back after it’s taken to shelter, adopted by new family

By Hannah Mackenzie

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ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — An Asheville woman has spent the last few weeks fighting to get her missing cat back after it was found, taken to a shelter, and adopted by a new family.

Chevelle Griffin last saw her 1.5-year-old cat, Sally, on October 18.

“She is very loving,” Griffin said. “She’s very sweet with children, anybody really.”

A few days later, Griffin said she learned via Facebook that a neighbor had taken her to the Asheville Humane Society. When she called to claim her, she said they told her there was nothing they could do.

“They just very bluntly told me, ‘Yes, this cat was brought in, she stayed the recommended hold time, then she was adopted out,’ and that’s just it,” Griffin said. “It broke my heart when I found out she was with somebody else.”

Griffin said Sally was only wearing a flea collar when she wandered off, and she was not microchipped.

“That was my fault,” Griffin said. “That was my mistake. I should have had her chipped, but I didn’t and she’s mine and I want her back.”

News 13’s Hannah Mackenzie reached out to the Asheville Humane Society. Mackenzie spoke with Chief Operations Officer Lisa Johns about the shelter’s stray animal intake protocol.

“As soon as a stray comes in, we get it in our system and that automatically puts it on our website, ashevillehumane.org,” Johns said. “That animal will be on our website for 72 business hours.”

After the state-mandated stray holds expires, pets go up for adoption, said Johns. Currently, with area shelters over capacity, the sooner they can free up a spot for another animal, the better.

“Certain days, we’ll take in up to 35 cats that are strays or through animal services or emergency owner surrenders,” Johns said.

Adopted out as “Coraline”, Sally has been with a new family for about a week, said Jeff Hassel, executive director.

“It’s difficult to say to somebody who’s just picked up an animal, ‘Hey, can you bring it back?” Hassel said.

A few tough conversations later and according to Hassel, this tale is on track for a happy ending.

“The family who got the cat now has agreed to return it,” said Hassel “We are glad that is going to happen.”

On Tuesday, November 8, three weeks since she went missing, Sally is slated to go home – but not without some new hardware, Johns said.

“We were able to microchip her, vaccinated her, and spay her for the family at no cost,” Johns said.

Griffin is forever grateful.

“I’ve kicked myself so much,” Griffin said. “If I’ve learned anything from this, get your pets chipped.”

As for the family who adopted Sally, then agreed to give her back, Johns and Hassel assure me they are working to find them a new pet.

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