Chester's old owner and new home

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Dog has new adoptive family

UPPER NAPPAN – Carollynn was crying.

Her voice on the phone, speaking from Thunder Bay, Ontario, was broken. She was missing her dog, Chester. Chessy is a terrier-cross. His first birthday is February 19. His favourite treat is popcorn. Carollynn Hiltz is torn-up inside at his loss.

“I want him back…I need him,” said Hiltz.

Chester has a new home in Cumberland County. He was adopted from the LA Shelter by a new family. Chessy was picked up running loose and taken to the shelter where, after 72 hours, he became their property and responsibility (according to town and county bylaws).

“It is a difficult situation,” said Kirsteen Thompson, adoptions coordinator for the shelter. But she believes giving Chester to a new family was the right decision.

It’s also a somewhat complicated situation. The broad strokes of the background are this: Hiltz’s relationship with her girlfriend in River Hebert ended and she decided to move to Ontario, leaving a number of animals (“quite a zoo,” she said, including a second dog, a pot-bellied pig and at least one cat) in the care of her ex. Hiltz said her intention was to get Chester flown up to Ontario once she was settled. In the interim, however, Chester was picked up loose by K-9 control. Hiltz, in Ontario, wasn’t alerted to this until two days (48 hours) had passed, she said.

The former owner said she was in touch with the shelter about Chester with 12 hours to spare, but could not coordinate getting someone to pick him up, and pay the amount owing – board and pick-up fee, at least – in that time frame.

With the 72 hours gone, Hiltz was invited to apply to adopt Chester. Two other applications were also received, giving the shelter the choice of three placements for the dog.

Thompson argued animals are not property in the way inanimate objects are.

“We’re not there for the public, we’re there for the animals,” she said.

The shelter board member said they expect puppies they adopt out to be neutered by six months of age (Hiltz said she had every intention of getting him fixed, but not until he was a little older). And the fact he hadn’t been vaccinated was problematic.

“We do have guidelines,” she said, and those guidelines were followed in Chester’s case. Veterinary care was deemed a stumbling block in Hiltz’s application.

Hiltz said she got veterinary care for her animals when it was needed – “I would do anything it takes to save my animals.” – but she doesn’t believe in vaccinations. In an email to the shelter, she wrote: “How many people do you think live in Nova Scotia that haven’t had their animals vaccinated because they can’t afford it but love their animals unconditionally?”

Hiltz claimed none of the references she gave the shelter were contacted.

The shelter chose a different home for Chester.

“They just judged me,” said Hiltz, because she left the dog behind in Nova Scotia, because he wasn’t neutered, because – her description – they decided she was an irresponsible, horrible person.

Thompson said she’s not claiming Hiltz mistreated her animals. The adoptions coordinator said it isn’t the first time they’ve had a situation like this.

“Overall, we do a very good job with our animals,” said Thompson.

Hiltz said she knows the dog’s new family loves him, but she’s loved him longer.

“I would plead to those people to send him to me,” she said.

Thompson is aware the situation will draw fire from some, but she wouldn’t change the decision if she could (in complicated adoptions, a dog committee of board members is consulted).

“Carollynn doesn’t have any legal right (to Chester),” said Thompson.

Geographic location: Chester, Ontario, Thunder Bay Cumberland County River Hebert Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Carol Lynn
    December 21, 2012 - 16:50

    You know when I started this I just wanted my little dog back,I don't know how the shelter is being run now or how it was ran in the past ,I for one don't want to see the shelter closed,that is not what this is about ,all I wanted was a bit more time to find someone who could pick him up ,the shelter wasn't really interested in helping me get my dog back,they could have bent the rules just a bit ,I thought the idea was to help people get their animals back if at all possible,I understand the shelter is there to protect abandoned and abused pets ,but Chessy was neither of those he was loved and cared for everyday,and when I explained my situation to the shelter they really didn't seem to care ,when I left Nova Scotia I never would have imagined that I would never see him again ,I started this with the hope his new owners would see it and realize what a horrible mistake this was and maybe they would say I could have him back,people here tell me all the time just try to take comfort in the fact he has a good home but, how do I know that he had a good home with me too..Every time I think about the fact that I'm never going to see him again makes me cry ,I just want him back if he was being watched a little better by my ex he would be here with me where he should be ,I'm begging ,please give him back to me ,I'm having a hard time moving on .........

    • Carollynn
      January 02, 2013 - 12:05

      Is Your Pet Dying of Over Vaccination Due$$$ and internationally, companion animals (pets) are being over-vaccinated - a practice that is resulting in vaccine related deaths, severe illnesses,

  • Just how many of you
    December 21, 2012 - 12:14

    You that say you love your animals but can't afford to get them spayed/neutered or vaccinated and are pulling your support from the shelter. What support would that be since you have no money to look after your own animals. Also an unfenced yard is no guarantee that sick animals won't walk in your yard then they are not safe and I guess they never go for walks either. Even a vaccine every couple of years is better than none. Ohhh how I could go on and on but I think you get my point. Also I was out to the shelter the other day and it was spotless as a shelter can be and smelt good and I was treated with much more respect than when I was there a few months ago where a staff member was very rude to me so I think a change over of staff is a good thing and much needed.

  • the real animal lover
    December 21, 2012 - 11:39

    The Board of the shelter is not paid so who do you think you are hurting by not supporting the L.A.Animal Shelter it is not the ones you are mad at, it is the animals who benifit from the public money and what you are all doing is trying to shut the shelter down. Then what will happen to all our beloved pets they will ALL have to be euthanized not many shelters are no kill. The L.A. Animal Shelter only euthanizes vicious or terminially ill animals most other shelters euthanize regularly hard to place often older dogs and the majoriety of cats. Is that what you all want ? I believe I heard that some still use gas chambers. I think the ones who think they can do better should take their heads out of the clouds and put there work cloths on and actually help out since there is more than one side to every story you might be surprised what you learn. I know for one I am the real animal lover and will stand behind our animals at the shelter and support them any way I can.

  • carollynn hiltz
    December 17, 2012 - 19:48

    I would like to thank you all for your support about my little man Chester, I so miss my little friend ,we spent just about every minute of every day together, where I was he was , we liked it that way,we spent much time at Lower Cove beach in Joggins it was our favorite place last summer ,he learned there that he didn't like the taste of salt water but he did like to swim,although it was funny to watch him try to out run the waves, he made me smile every day ,I miss that ,now I'm left with such a deep sadness I just don't know what to do thank you all again from the bottom of my heart .

  • Concerned pet owner
    December 17, 2012 - 17:36

    I have been following this thread and am amazed that nobody seems to be concerned that the previous owner seems to have owned numerous animals that are no longer with her. One of the comments refers to lizards and rottweilers, where are they now? What of the other dog, cat and pig she left behind, is she shipping them to Ontario? I think there is more to this story than has been told. Myself, I support the shelter in this decision.

    • Carollynn Hiltz
      December 18, 2012 - 10:22

      It is your right to support the shelter, the other pets you are speaking of ,first the iguana was Charlie ,I had her in the early 90's when I lived in Manitoba , I had and cared for her 8 years ,in that time she had 2 major operations ,one because she had become egg bound and couldn't lay her eggs ,second one was for a growth in her belly ,the vet couldn't even tell me what it was ,total cost so far almost 800.00 third time she got sick the vet told me he couldn't do anything for her ,she was put down ,The rottweiler was Jade she passed away at home from breast cancer Oct.27 2006..she was 9 years old ,the Amherst Vet Clinic could have saved her ,but because I didn't have 700.00 in cash and they wouldn't set me up with a payment plan she died one day before her appointment with the vet to be put down , then the vet clinic had the nerve to send me a sympathy card . Now about the other dog left behind, his name is Norman he is a coonhound german shepard cross he has been and always will be the family protector ,he weighs in at about 100 lbs ,6yrs old and he makes my stepdaughter feel safe ,that old fella is set in his ways ,as for the cat he was my ex's cat ,and as for my pig ,it shows some of your ignorance,Her name is Rhiley,she is 3 yrs old ,she's a big girl ,if you knew anything about pigs,you would know there was no way possible of bringing her here ,I worked in hog barns for 8 yrs and have forgotten more about pigs than most people know ,Chester chose me to be his best friend ,please don't try to make me out to be the bad guy Rhiley now lives in NB with a loving family who adore her .....

  • mary
    December 17, 2012 - 11:24

    carollynn is a good person she treated her animals like her kids as they are her kids they where never mitreated they where will and happy thie all came to a trip gone wrong as she decided to stay and send for her animals they where already gone so stand up and give a little christmas gift and return her dog please it is christmas after all thanks for reading this hope every thing work out she is a very good person i have know her a long time so please give her gift her dog lots of love

  • Eleanor Ripley-Barrow
    December 17, 2012 - 09:06

    Come on people, let's give the LA Animal Shelter the support it needs. The volunteers don't deserve all these negative comments. Animals need our help and there can only be hope if people all work together. Criticism can be constructive, only when it is directed in an appropriate way. Volunteers need praise, they are doing their best in some very difficult circumctances.

    • Lisa Hawkes
      December 17, 2012 - 13:40

      Let's give rightful pet owners the support they need, If the people who "adopted" Chester were (SOMEHOW) approved for him then they will be approved for another rightfully homeless dog. What kind of shelter cries "full" constantly yet turns prospective adopters away left right and center? Then refuses to acknowledge a LOST dog's owner and rather than adopt out one of the many animals taking up space sells the owner's LOST dog. If shelters and vet clinics were more supportive of lower income peoples' right to give homes to animals without homes then maybe Chester (and millions of other not needled or fixed pets) would be fixed and vaccinated. Since when is not fixing a dog neglect?

  • Mary
    December 16, 2012 - 19:34

    I am currently the proud mummy of 3 cats, two neutered and one that is not...I am also mummy to 3 dogs, two of which are neutered and one that is not...My oldest dog is just about 13 yrs old and other than puppy shots she has never been vaccinated! She is a husky cross and I have had her since she was a puppy. She has only been sick once and that was a 900 dollar vet bill...she was 9 yr at the time! Do you know that there are people that do not get their children immunized? why well it is a belief that they have...they home school to avoid being forced to do it since kids cannot attend public schools without them...So it should be with our pets! We as the 'mummys' should be able to determine what way we want to raise our 'babies'. The real risk to animals is contact with other animals that may be carrying disease! Not one of my cats go outside, no danger there of exposure, My dogs also do not go to pet parks, they have a yard and they stay in it because I have taught them to do so...I also do not allow people to bring their dogs into my yard, prevention is as good as filling them up with the disease before they ever get it! I cannot believe that we are in a world where there are puppy mills, and animals being beaten and starved and all you as an organization for pets seem to care about is money! I mean really if you had given the rightful mommy back her dog, then the other people would have paid money to you for a different puppy! wow you would have made more! Sometimes these organization do no good at all!

  • marilyn l
    December 16, 2012 - 14:05

    i've know carollyn seems like forever and she has always had a "zoo" from lizards that slapped her arms and caused welts to rotweilers that insisted on sitting on her lap and not once did carollyn ever abuse hers or any one elses pet for that matter. She treats her animals like a good parent of a human child should treat a member of the family. i'm not sayin the new family wont love and care for chester as well but it wont be the same. you take a child away from a parent and yes the child can live with another family but its just not the same. give her back her baby! she just needed some time to get the money and i believe that when she left she would have asked the other party to tend to chester until they could be just whose fault is it that chester was running at large? Certainly not hers she was miles away where was chesters minder? and the statement "Thompson argued animals are not property in the way inanimate objects are." well that is crazy .......does that mean i can go across the street and take my neighbors pet and the following be true too? " Carollynn doesn’t have any legal right (to Chester),” said Thompson. Crazy just crazy give her back chester and let the other people get another pet that is unwanted by anyone else geesh simple logic says it will make 2 "dogs" happy

  • Debbie
    December 16, 2012 - 12:44

    this dog should not be kept from Carollynn she loves him alot . this shelter could have found good homes for 2 dogs by giving carollyn back her dog and letting this other family adopt another one

  • Humane Treatment?
    December 16, 2012 - 09:14

    I read this article and thought hmmmm....the food bank gives dog food to those pet owners experiencing hard times. So, it would appear they understand the importance of man's best friend. Esentially they treat animals like humans. Where as, in this instance, the Shelter treated the human like an animal. Gives you "paws" for thought.

  • Pet Owner
    December 16, 2012 - 09:07

    What a sad situation. I can not fathom why this pet owner was not given more support and compassion by the staff from the Animal Shelter. I have been a long time supporter of this organization, but can not and will not support this type of dictatorship. In my home, our pets are part of our family. I am so saddened to read that a compromise couldn't be reached to help this young lady. LA Animal Shelter, you should all be ashamed of yourselves. My future donations WILL NOT be going to this particular shelter any more, but rather to one farther a field that treats people with more kindness.

  • Shelter Take a Long Hard Look
    December 16, 2012 - 07:58

    All right enough is enough!! The shelter needs to look at what has gone on over the past few months. Staff have left! Staff that I loved going out to visit with and help. No more! The people running this place need to change. Since the manager, Tara Partridge left due to stress given by a non-supportive board time after time it has gone downhill. She is wonderful with the animals and loved them dearly, smart with educating the people, cleaned up the shelter and in the end shown no appreciation. You can read for yourself the headaches from a FaceBook Posting on her page. Since she left the shelter has gone downhill. Not wanting to leave as it was a much loved way of life she saw no other choice as the Board (not all members) was not listening to her and what was needed to keep the shelter running well. Do you remember what the shelter was like five years ago? It was not a pleasant place to be. Well it now is going back to that. Why would the board want this? Why would anyone want this. Sickening this all is. The best thing to happen to the shelter was the manager who left. Should of just let her do her job. She was good at it. A good board would have realized this as in the past this was the case. The public and donators need to step in and get her back!!!! She knew how to run the shelter! Why mess with that. A recent visit confirmed that it is not being looked after as well as it was a couple of months ago. Smells and seems dirty and cluttered in areas. Previous manager would have never allowed this! No more visits for me...I am not the only one. Get her back!! Carollynn I am very sorry for your loss! I hope your story is heard by the new family and all will be fixed in the end. Goodluck.

  • Fur Friend
    December 16, 2012 - 07:22

    What a surprise! A similar situation like this happen just weeks ago. I think the dogs name was Merlin or Kane and he was returned. This dog ended up at the shelter from New Brunswick. A split up of the dogs owners had happened and he was left with one of them. Somehow the dog ended up at the LA Animal Shelter. The dog was returned to the owner he was not left with from the break up neutered and on-top of that the shelter spayed another dog in the home for only a small price for all. I think this was done to smooth things over or for better words quiet the situation because of the bad publicity generated on Facebook. Same situation as yours Carollynn but it seems the shelter picks and chooses. Who is running this shelter? Shame shame on you. Carollynn I am so sorry for your lost and I hope the people who have your dog now do the right thing and give your dog back to you and the shelter gives them their money back! RULES CAN BE BROKEN

  • Bernice
    December 15, 2012 - 20:49

    I have a comment about carollynn and her dog chester, I don't understand why you would keep her away from her dog. She loves her animals more than you could ever imagine. The statement you made about animals have to be spayed or neutered well I can't affored to have my dog done does that make me a bad pet owner? I can't afford to get my dog her neddles does that mean I shouldn't have her? I love my dog with all my heart and she is another child in the family. I wish you would have some compassion and let carollynn have her dog back that was her child.

  • sampson
    December 15, 2012 - 11:58

    Give the dog back to her. mistakes happen. i,m sure the new family can find another dog and it hasnt been there that long. i have 2 dogs of my own and i would fight tooth and nail to get them back. if there is any cost for the new family i,m sure this lady would pay them back.

  • NotTheFirstTime
    December 15, 2012 - 10:08

    This isn't the first time that the LA Animal Shelter has done something STUPID like this. I, honestly, would never even attempt to adopt from that shelter as I IMMENSELY disagree with many of their policies. They should be wanting to put these poor animals into good homes, not just the "exemplary" homes. And I have seen some people who have adopted from the shelter and the animal be greatly mistreated. They are denying good people the opportunity to provide a loving, caring home for the pets who are otherwise locked in a cage for years, or worse, euthanized. The LA Animal Shelter needs to wake up and get off their high horse!!!

  • Disgusted with the LA ANIMAL SHELTER
    December 14, 2012 - 15:50

    I believe the LA animal Shelter is in need of NEW BOARD MEMBERS because the ones they got are running that place into the ground....It is pretty sad situtition but she did plan on taking the dog...It is just another way the screw people over.....They are suppose to be there to help and I don't even believe they understand that word...We need help with some stray cats this summer and was told oh well there is nothing we can do and when we asked what we should do a man that works there told us to open our door and let him go...I was so digusted that I will never ever support or donate to that shelter again...I will donate my time and money to an outside shelter before i give it so a shelter that doesn't care.