UPDATE: Dog Accidentally Adopted Out Is Returned To His Original Owner

Update 3/4/2021 CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A happy update to share with you! A mess of a situation involving a lost dog, picked up by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control, and adopted out just hours before his owner tracked him down, has now been resolved.

The couple that adopted a two-year-old Shih Tzu named Ace decided to return him to the woman he belonged to. Cell phone video of his reunion with his owner, Denise Tatum, shows the dog wiggling with excitement to see Tatum.

Tatum tells WCCB she is very grateful for the couple’s kindness. She says, “I wanna thank them so much for doing that. Because they didn’t have to. So I appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart. I really do.” Tatum says Ace is adjusting to being back at home She says, “He’s taken over my bed, he just sleeps, he’s right up under me. Which I love anyway!”

Two separate scans with two separate scanners missed Ace’s microchip when he was first brought into the shelter. Ace has been microchipped again, and Tatum is watching him like a hawk. Animal Control says it will help the other couple find another dog to adopt.



CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Denise Tatum is desperate to get her dog back. She says, “He’s my heart and I just want him back.” Her two-year-old Shih Tzu named Ace got out of her southeast Charlotte home around 1AM Saturday, February 13th.

After looking for him all weekend, she called 311 on the 15th to see if he’d been picked up by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control. Tatum says an operator told her this: “She said nothing was in the system (about) a Shih Tzu.”

But Ace had been picked up by animal control, in a parking lot two tenths of a mile from Tatum’s home. The shelter tells WCCB he entered their system on the 13th. They held him for the legally required stray hold of 72 hours, under NC General Statute 19A-32.1.

On the 17th, he defaulted to property of the city, was neutered and adopted out, just a couple hours before Tatum showed up at the shelter to look for him. She says, “I’m just heartbroken. I just want him back.”

Tatum had Ace microchipped when he was a puppy. But animal control says two separate scans with two different scanners didn’t detect the chip. That’s rare, but it can happen. Tatum, wiping away tears, says “He’s my heart and I just want him back.”

The shelter customer service manager called the woman who adopted Ace on Monday to explain the situation. She hung up on the manager. Several hours later, the woman’s husband called back and left a voicemail at the shelter that they would not give the dog back to Denise Tatum.

Tatum says, “He means the world to me. When I come out of treatment, he’s waiting at the door for me to come in.” Tatum gets dialysis treatment three days a week and has upcoming heart surgery. She hopes the people who have Ace now find it in their hearts to give him back. She says, “At the end of the day, he’s mine. He’s my dog. I’m just hoping they do the right thing.”

WCCB has asked for the name of the people who adopted the dog. CMPD’s legal department is determining if they’ll release that. Animal Control is working to get an audio recording of Tatum’s call with the 311 operator. We’ve requested a copy of that call, too. Tatum says she will pursue legal action if this can’t be resolved. She’s started a GoFundMe fundraiser to collect donations to help with legal costs.