Sunday, February 21, 2021
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The Villages

Lost Pets of The Villages believes deck has been stacked against them

To the Editor:

Lost Pets of The Villages had a deal with AVID that we could call them and get information on the owners of found pets. We NEVER had to use another entity to get this information. I spoke to Josh at AVID several years ago and explained who we are and what we do. On the 10th I received a call on a small four-pound mix that was chipped with an AVID chip.  I called AVID and the AVID rep gave me the name and phone number of the owner before she realized she wasn’t supposed to give me any information.  She told me there was a note in the file that they were not to give any information to LPOTV or to me, Angie Fox.  
I was surprised and shocked since we have been able to get the information in the past. I learned later that other members of LPOTV have been having to use other rescues they work with to get this information.  
I called AVID that evening and spoke to Ramone to learn that AVID received a letter from Richard Baier (district manager of The Villages), copying Bradley Arnold (Sumter County administrator), and Gary Lester (The Villages), to NOT give LPOTV or Angie Fox any information on any pets that we get chip numbers from so we can get them home.
This is probably the most despicable thing The Villages and Sumter County has done so far. Or is it?   This directly affects the pets in The Villages and surrounding areas and our ability to get these pets home.

Richard Baier made a directive previously if any of the employees gave residents information about Lost Pets of The Villages to help a pet, they would lose their jobs. In fact one employee didn’t know about the directive and called us to pick up a dog at 3 a.m. after being told to put it on the street. She got three days without pay for her efforts. 
As an explanation to what it means when Richard Baier, Bradley Arnold and Gary Lester sent the letters to AVID and possible other chip companies to prevent LPOTV from getting information to find the owner.  Instead of the chip companies giving us the information so we can find the owners, they instead will contact the owners and give them our information.  The problem with that is, that many if not most of the people here have not registered their pets to the new phone number or address.  In fact many people have NEVER registered their chips at all.
The dog we worked on the 10th had a phone number that is  no longer in service.  The owner was listed as deceased. While they wouldn’t give us all the information we did get enough before the AVID rep realized she wasn’t supposed to give us information.   I went home to research to find the owner.  Another LPOTV volunteer was at the ready and went to the owners home to assure we had the correct information, (we found the husband) and the dog was safe with Kathy Bork in a home and NOT in the shelter in a cage with a bunch of other dogs barking all around her. 
Had we not gotten ANY information we would not have been able to find the owner.  Had the pup gone to the shelter, they would not have done what we did  to find the owner and considering the dog was blind and deaf, she may have been considered not a healthy dog and euthanized. 
Anyone who follows LPOTV might remember Max.  Max wasn’t registered to the current address but when we got the call, we were able to find the owner and get Max home.  Max got out again and we didn’t get that call. Max went to the Sumter County Shelter.  They didn’t do the background like we do and after five days Max went to Lakeland Humane Society.  We drove to Lakeland to get Max back home.  We got lucky with Max, he could have been adopted out and there would have been no way to get him home.  He would have been gone forever, even though he was chipped. 
What it amounts to is The Villages AND Sumter County put a lot of effort into keeping LPOTV from getting YOUR pets home.
There are so many pets that would not be home if we couldn’t get the information to find the owners. How despicable can these “men” be to go out of their way to keep the pets away from their families?

Angie Fox
Lost Pets of The Villages

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