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Thread: Kuhio's Story - Looking for Lost Pet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
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    5,367

    Kuhio's Story - Looking for Lost Pet

    I'm a newcomer here but I hope you won't mind if I share the story of how we tragically lost our 17-year old kitty on August 6, 2002. We're not bashing shelters. They fill a definite need but if you're looking for your lost pet, please know that it's up to you to ask questions -- your pet's life depends on it. Kuhio's name is pronounced Coo-He-Oh. It is the name of a Hawaiian Prince. Kuhio was a female and we live in Alaska -- don't ask me why we named her Kuhio -- it just seemed to make sense at the time.

    A Needless Death

    A tragic series of events resulted in our family's beloved 17-year old cat "Kuhio" being put to death by Animal Control on August 6th 2002. We want to make sure that this doesn't happen to another family.

    We found that Kuhio was missing on Sunday, August 4th and after canvassing the neighborhood, went to Animal Control on Monday, August 5th. My husband reported the cat missing and was told to look in a certain room. He looked but did not find her. He went back to the front desk and told them that she wasn't there and asked what he should do. He was told to fill out a Lost Pet Report - which he did and left. He also put up a poster in our yard offering a reward for information. On Tuesday, August 6th, neighbors notified us that they had called Animal Control about a cat matching Kuhio's description on Sunday, August 4th. This was confusing to us because Animal Control could not seem to find any record of this when my husband checked on August 5th. Since Animal Control was closed for the night, I left a message giving the name of the neighbors and the date that the cat was picked up. My husband and I went to Animal Control as soon as they opened on Wednesday and were shocked and horrified to learn that Kuhio had been put to death on Tuesday morning. We asked how it was possible when they could find no record of her on Monday and my husband had looked at all the cats. We were told that there is ANOTHER room (referred to as the Clinic) where new arrivals are kept while they are being checked for disease and illness. That's where Kuhio had been held. She was never going to be placed in the room where my husband was told to look because she was old and ill and would never be offered for adoption. When we explained that we weren't told about looking in the Clinic, we were told that it was our responsibility to ask questions about their procedures.

    We offered several suggestions about how they could improve their process. We suggested posting a sign that informs the pet owner of all the places to search - ask about all the rooms where your pet may be held. Ask if your pet could still be in a transport vehicle. We suggested that the Lost Pet form include a header or footer with a list of all the possible areas/rooms where your pet may be. We suggested a database that matches up the Found Pet form with the Lost Pet form. In our case, both of the forms stated that the cat was from Brookridge Street. A simple search in the database or a review of the forms would have saved our pet. (She was picked up 4 houses away from us).

    We removed Kuhio's collar because the tags had worn a bald patch around her neck. We take full responsibility for this action. We've since found a website www.k9collars.com that offers to embroider the name of your pet and your phone number on the collar. We're ordering them for friends and family with pets with hopes that no other family has to go thru something like this. We've also educated ourselves on microchipping. We had no idea that this technology even existed. www.avidid.com/faq/index.html

    Also, www.petrescue.com/library/find-pet.htm has a list of places to look and questions to ask. One of their tips is to check all areas of the shelter, including the infirmary. If we had known this in advance instead of relying on Animal Control to direct us, Kuhio would be home with her loving family today.

    Update: Several weeks after this happened, my husband went to Animal Control and adopted another cat. While he was there, he told Kuhio's story to various people in the lobby. NONE of them had been told to check the Clinic for their lost pet. It appears they have not taken any of our suggestions.

    Bob and Lisa
    Anchorage, Alaska

    You can see photos of Kuhio at Webshots. The Alaskana album has some pictures of Artist Peak -- Kuhio's favorite place in the world -- with the exception of her Dadcat's lap.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/kuhio98
    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~~ It could have saved Kuhio's life. And it cost Halo hers. Consider having your cat tested for Polycystic kidney disease ~~ Rest in peace Willy
    Loved by Lisa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    I'm not sure, what day is it? ;-)
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    13,741
    What a sad, sad story. I can't believe they wouldn't be more helpful and try and get as many kitties back to their owners as possible. Instead it seems like they get some preverse pleasure out of seeing people looking for their beloved pets, not finding them, then finding out they were there all the time and now it's too late. I just don't understand some people.

    I'm so sorry this had to happen, but at least you are trying to make something positive come out of it by educating people about this. I would have been like you, and just assumed they told me all the places where the kitty might be. Not being that familiar with shelters, I would have just taken their word for it like you did. But thanks to you and Kuhio, I am one more that has been educated, and will pass the word to everyone I can.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and the pics. I absolutely loved the pic of Kuhio in your back-pack. It's so cute that she wanted to go everywhere with you and would stay in the back-pack in order to do it.

    And a great big WELCOME to PT!!!!

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, I love Kuhio's name! It's so beautiful!
    Tubby
    Spring 1986 - Dec. 11, 2004
    RIP Big Boy
    -----------
    Peanut
    Fall 1988 - Jan. 24, 2007
    RIP Snotty Girl
    -----------
    Robin
    Fall 1997 - Oct. 6, 2012
    RIP Sweet Monkeyhead Girl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    956
    What a sad story. Kuhio was a very beautiful cat, I especially like the picture of you carrying him in a backpack on a bike. Sounds like he is very missed, I hope nothing like this will happen again. I am shocked at the shelter, it could have been so preventable. I'm so sorry for your loss. I wonder if microchipping might have made a difference? My cats are getting microchipped as soon as I make appointments, but I still wonder about shelters and such not having the equipment to scan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,207


    It was not your fault that you expected them to tell you where they might be holding your cat when you showed up and asked them about it--it was entirely their fault for hiding the ball! What a bunch of sadistic paper-pushers those people are! I don't care how busy they may be--they obviously didn't make the slightest effort to help. There's just no excuse for that.

    I'm so very sorry that you had to suffer the loss of your sweet Kuhio. I hope you and your new kitty have many very happy years together.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Montclair NJ
    Posts
    2,448
    Dear Bob and Lisa, I am sorry for your loss of beautiful Kuhio. The picture of him with Dadcat was especially sweet. I am shocked that the people at the shelter seem so heartless. Your suggestions were very good and I am disappointed the shelter did not implement them. I wish you many years of happiness with your new kitty. A warm welcome to Pet Talk.
    Steffi and Lovable





  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    catlandia
    Posts
    3,098
    Welcome to PetTalk - your story is so sad.

    Have you considered going to the media to see if they would do a story on this? Those people should be ashamed of themselves.

    These are not the droids you were looking for

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Aotearoa- New Zealand -Kia Ora, Tena Koutou,Haere Mai From the Land of the long white cloud.
    Posts
    11,158
    What a sad story with a tragic ending, I am so sorry for your loss, I think posting your story was a very good idea, and it may indeed save other's from going through what you have suffered.
    Have fun at the Rainbow Bridge,Zara,Rusty, Juliette ,Romeo,sweet Tessa,wee stray and Harvey you all will never be forgotten.

    Furangels only lent.
    RIP my gorgeous Sooti, taken from us far too young, we miss your beautiful face and purssonality,take care of Ash for us, love you xx000

    RIP my beautiful Ash,your pawprints are forever in my heart, love and miss you so much my big boy. (very special thanks to Alysser for my cute siggy)

    RIP my sweet gorgeous girl Ellie-Mae, a little battler to the end, you will never ever be forgotten, your little soul is forever in my heart, my thoughts, my memories, my love for you will never die, Love you my darling little precious girl.

    RIP lil Benson the Hedgehog, came in to our lives suddenly and for a short time ,but you were loved and cared for and missed.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
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    boscibo

    Yes, microchipping would have made all the difference in the world. I'm so glad you are having your baby chipped. As I originally posted, we didn't know this technology existed at the time. Our vet had never mentioned it. Both of our kitties are chipped now.

    Also, we checked with the shelter to make sure that they bother to even scan for chips. (They were offended at the question -- but I told them that I was offended that they had killed my cat due to a "clerical error"). They do scan so that has eased our minds.

    Please tell all your friends about what happened to Kuhio and urge them to microchip their pets. We've also heard about tatooing, but we don't have any experience with this.
    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~~ It could have saved Kuhio's life. And it cost Halo hers. Consider having your cat tested for Polycystic kidney disease ~~ Rest in peace Willy
    Loved by Lisa

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Posts
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    catland

    My posting is from the article we submitted to the Anchorage Daily News last year. We could never get them interested in doing a story. We've been back to the shelter on 3 occasions posing as people looking for a lost pet. We've NEVER been directed to look in the infirmary/clinic. Even after asking if there are other rooms to look in.

    We've also passed that information on to the newspaper and they say that they may use it someday when they are working on a bigger story. (You can imagine our reaction to that).

    Please remember Kuhio's story so that if you ever find yourself in this position, you will be much better informed that we were.

    Two things I'll never forget is the laughter on her Bobcat's face when Kuhio peed in his hand when she was a kitten and the look on his face when his knees buckled that day when the little b**ch at the shelter told him that his baby was dead because it had been his responsibility to ask out their policies and procedures. I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on anyone -- not even her! She was truly his baby.
    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~~ It could have saved Kuhio's life. And it cost Halo hers. Consider having your cat tested for Polycystic kidney disease ~~ Rest in peace Willy
    Loved by Lisa

  10. #10


    Ohhh.. I'm so sorry about your loss of Kuhio. She was beautiful.
    ~Kimmy, Kia, Chipper, Zam, Logan, Raptor, Nimrod, June, Mei, Jasper, Esme, Lucy Inara, & Morla

    Thanks Kfamr for the sig!

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