According to Leah Arbeau, when her family’s 13-year-old lab, Rosco, went missing from their Upper Blackville home last April, the whole family was in panic mode.
The family spent weeks trying to find their beloved pet, combing through 150 acres of woods around their rural residence.
After nearly two months have passed, Leah’s husband, Ashley Arbeau, came upon a picture of their dog on The Greater Moncton SPCA’s Facebook page.
“I said, ‘I just found him! I found him!” he recalled.
It never dawned on Ashley to check an animal shelter almost two hours away from their home.
The family immediately called the shelter only to get crushing news.
“And now we are not allowed to have him back,” said Leah.
Just five days earlier, they said Rosco was adopted out. They were told by a representative from the SPCA that the new owners, despite the Arbreau’s plea to get him back, have decided to keep him.
“I just can’t go pick him up, and all of my kids are just devastated,” he said.
The Greater Moncton SPCA said that the adoption process happens over several weeks and that animals in their care are posted on their website and social media pages across the province to allow potential owners to contact the shelter.
The shelter’s operations manager, Heather Smith, said that once an animal is adopted, it becomes the legal responsibility of the new owners.
“Privacy laws ensure the significance of maintaining confidentiality and security of personal information. These same laws prevent the GMSPCA from sharing the personal information of adopters in all circumstances,” said Smith.
The SPCA could not provide any details to the Arbeaus about who now owns Rosco due to privacy laws.
“Whoever adopted him likely wants to take care of him, which is a good thing,” said Leah. “But to know he is alive and is out there is just killing us.”
The family has started an online campaign — hoping the new owners will see their story and have a change of heart, or at the very least, give them a chance to say goodbye.
“I have had so many people try to help and put posts up and try to reach out to the people who adopted him,” she said.
Ashley said that he couldn’t even bring himself to walk by the river where he took Rosco to swim on hot days.