After spending three years with his dog Myko, Kenneth Colson found out he wasn’t his spaniel mix’s only owner.
“We were so attached,” Colson told NBC 4. “He was like my right arm.”
According to NBC 4 New York, Colson learned his pet had been found on March 23, after a volunteer from FindShadow, an app that helps reunite owners with their lost pets, sent Colson a tweet from the NYPD’s Transit Bureau.
However, while he was still trying to get in contact with the police, NBC 4 New York reported that the 54-year-old was sent another story by the outlet about how the canine had already been returned to its owner.
Colson says he adopted Myko from an acquaintance, who told him that the dog came from an abusive home, according to NBC 4. However, it turns out that the dog had previously belonged to a family living in Jamaica, Queens, and went missing after their 10-year-old son accidentally left their yard gate open. It was also revealed that the dog had been fitted with a microchip, which Colson told the outlet he knew nothing about, that listed the family’s address as the dog’s home.
Colson later learned from the dog’s previous owner — who has since moved upstate with her family — that they had adopted the dog, who they named Jack, when the animal was 1, reported NBC 4.
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While Colson told NBC 4 New York that after hearing the family’s story he decided to let them keep the dog, Colson likely would have been able to make a legal case for keeping the dog.
In February, The Press-Enterprise reported on a similar case, where a man was able to locate his lost pet thanks to a microchip, but according to police and animal control officers, the chip wasn’t enough to legally prove he was the dog’s owner — and not the family who had since taken the dog in.
However, Colson’s decision to let the dog’s original owner keep the pup isn’t without precedent.
KHOU11 previously reported on a man who got his service dog back after learning the animal had been adopted by another family from a shelter. Once the family heard about what had happened, they agreed to let the man have his dog back.