All Zach Gentile wants is the information from the Revere Police that will help him retrieve his long-lost dog from an unknown man in Beachmont.
Sounds a bit ridiculous?
Welcome to the world of the City’s stray/lost dog policies – or lack thereof, at least according to one City dog contractor.
“That poor kid lost his dog and can’t get it back because police dispatch doesn’t believe animal calls are important,” said Lisa Cutting of Ocean View Kennels, which holds a contract with the City to house lost or abandoned animals. “The situation is 10 times worse than a year ago when I went up to the City Council and let my frustrations fly. I have to go through Boston to try to get help. Revere just doesn’t care.
“This is why I went in front of the Council one year ago,” she continued, alluding to a very animated discussion she had before the Council last February. “I am not the DPW, and yet the police just drop the dogs and leave. These animals are living breathing things. I’ve had it with dispatch, with the chief, with the mayor and everybody. I’m stuck though. I’m stuck either working with people who won’t work with me or turning my back on animals who will die on the streets.”
Cutting said Gentile’s situation is just one of many heartbreaking stories that have occurred over the last two years due to what she said is a lack of any comprehensive plan by police for dealing with animals.
“I can’t even begin to tell you what I’m going through with this City,” said Cutting. “My mother wants to pull the contract, but then the animals will be put to sleep – even the ones that are just lost. We really hate all this.”
Last year, Cutting detailed that healthy, lost animals had actually been euthanized due to miscommunication by police with owners.
Gentile said he has had his Jack Russell Terrier – named Emily – for nine years. The trouble for him began on Dec. 19th around 6 p.m. when his mother accidentally let Emily out unattended so the dog could go to the bathroom. However, the dog never came inside to their Highland Avenue home afterward.
Gentile said he searched Shirley Avenue for hours upon hours with no luck. The next day, he called Cutting, who told him that a man had called police to say he found the dog, but police dispatch had failed to take down the man’s number or information.
“I did call the police then and they just said they couldn’t get me any more information on it and I wondered why that was because they were the ones who told us about the man calling them,” said Gentile. “There was nothing for me to do at that point but to wait for information. I called the Animal Control officer and left a message like they told me to do and they said they would get back to me as soon as possible. I still haven’t gotten any message back.”
And of course, that was more than one month ago.
As Gentile and Cutting understand the situation, the man does have the dog, but when he called, police did not take down his information. Therefore, all anyone knows is that a man from Beachmont has the dog. No more help aside from that has been offered.
“It has been kind of frustrating,” Gentile said.
So, the high schooler has taken matters into his own hands.
He plastered the neighborhood with fliers that were almost immediately ruined by rain and snow. He has looked tirelessly and wants to go door-to-door if his mother will let him.
Revere Police, upon learning more about the situation, told the Journal that they are revisiting the idea of making a clear policy for lost or abandoned animals – a problem they were told of more than a year ago by Cutting.
“We’re going to revisit our policies and procedures to make sure there are no oversights or cracks to fall through,” said Lt. Amy O’Hara. “We’re not going to have this happen again. If someone called and had information on that dog, it shouldn’t be hard for us to track it down. Everybody here is a pet owner. We all have dogs and cats. We will review the policies and get to the bottom of this.”
Cutting said she hopes that is the case.
Just last weekend, police dropped off a young, baby Beagle without any explanation. It appeared to belong to someone. Cutting did some research and found out that the dog hadn’t even been logged in at police headquarters, so nobody knew it had been turned in to her.
“If somebody called to report that young Beagle had been lost, no one would know I have it,” said Cutting. “Worse yet, if I hadn’t taken it, it would have been taken to the shelter and put to sleep. I know someone out there is looking for it. It’s just a baby, but all the police do is drop and leave.”
Cutting said there also needs to be a coordinated effort to get dogs adopted that have been abandoned or surrendered and are still in her care. Currently, she has six dogs, and most have been in her care for more than three months.
“If I don’t keep them, they just get put to sleep at North Shore (Shelter),” she said. “That’s a shame because they are adoptable dogs. They aren’t harmful. Every time people find out about these dogs, they get adopted immediately. The City’s lack of concern for these animals is disgusting. They treat flowers in this City better than they do these dogs.”
For the record, Gentile said his terrier is white with almost no brown fur spots on her body. She was wearing a pink collar when she disappeared, and she answers to the name of “Emily.”
Anyone with any information can call him at (781) 353-4716 or his mother at (617) 401-5100.