North Carolina woman struggles to get her cat back after it was taken into shelter, adopted by a new family

By Hannah Mackenzie

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ASHEVILLE, NC (WLOS) – An Asheville woman has spent the past few weeks battling 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’s very loving,” Griffin said. “She’s very good with children, anyone 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 it, she said they told her there was nothing they could do.

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

Griffin said Sally was only wearing a flea collar when she walked away and was not microchipped.

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

Hannah Mackenzie of News 13 contacted the Asheville Humane Society. Mackenzie spoke with Chief Operating Officer Lisa Johns about the shelter’s stray animal intake protocol.

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

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

“Some days we will take in up to 35 stray cats or through animal services or emergency owner surrenders,” Johns said.

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

“It’s hard to say to someone who 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 its way to a happy ending.

“The family that got the cat has now agreed to return it,” Hassel said. “We are happy that this is happening.”

On Tuesday, November 8, three weeks after her disappearance, Sally is due to return home – but not without new material, Johns said.

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

Griffin is eternally grateful.

“I kicked myself so much,” Griffin said. “If I learned anything from this, chip your pets.”

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

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Jennifer R. Strohm