Dog adopted by family while original owner fighting wildfires to be returned

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BATTLE GROUND, Wash. — A Washington state firefighter will be reunited with his dog after a mix-up left the dog adopted by another family, KING-TV reports.

According to KING-TV, the family made the difficult decision to return the black Lab named Hunter to William Jones, its original owner. The family initially said they would not return the dog, as they had bonded with it, but changed their minds over the weekend.

KOIN reported that Jones owned his dog for about a year. He said the two would go hunting together and he even called Hunter his “best friend.”

Jones said he left to fight wildfires and he left his dog with a friend because he would be gone for a few weeks.

When he returned, Jones said his friend told him that the dog jumped a fence and went missing.

Jones said he called an animal shelter and was told that the dog was adopted to another family.

The Humane Society said the new family adopted the dog legally and there was nothing they could do.

Humane Society President Stacey Graham said when animal control found the dog and brought it to the shelter, there was no way to contact the owner.

“It was a heartbreaking ending to something that really could have been prevented,” Graham said. “Hunter had no tags, no microchip and no license.”

Graham said microchipping is the only way to know for certain that a lost dog’s owner can be found.

Hunter was held for the legal amount of time and then put out for adoption where he was legally adopted by another family.

The Humane Society said last week they reached out to the new family and the family initially said they had bonded with the dog and would keep it it.

A post by Jones on social media about the incident resulted in outrage in recent days, with comments calling for the dog to be returned.

The dog is currently in the possession of the Humane Society, KING-TV reports. It will be returned to Jones when he returns from fighting a wildfire.