INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Worton was responding to one of Indianapolis Animal Care Services calls to the public asking for help to adopt dogs from an overcrowded shelter. Worton ended up choosing two dogs and says he had been told the dogs' chip ID would be updated with his contact information - but that didn't happen.
Worton went to IACS to adopt a Pit Bull and said an employee talked him into taking a 12-year-old dog that needed a good home.
The last year has been rough for Worton, and his new dogs were a comfort.
"I’ve had four major surgeries including open heart surgery," Worton said. "Gilbert, the Jack Russell, was really like a therapy dog for me."
During Worton's recovery, Gilbert escaped.
"I had a cast on my leg, and he ran out the door," Worton said.
Worton said he posted pictures of Gilbert all over Facebook.
"Everything to try and find out where he went to," Worton said. "He’s been my rock actually — so it’s been tough."
Someone did find Gilbert and took him to a local vet where he was scanned. Gilbert's chip was still registered to his previous owner.
"Seven years ago he was running through the Kroger parking lot on the east side," Joseph Crayton said.
Crayton says his dog, Skippy, escaped from his house last September.
"He’s been with my family about seven years," he said.
A spokeswoman for IACS called the circumstances an unfortunate situation. She said the dog was held for the mandatory 32-hour stray hold before being put up for adoption, but IACS recognizes that the chip information did not get changed.
"Makes another family happy," Crayton said. "He’s been a good dog; he gave us a lot of good years."
Crayton said he had to negotiate with his kids and that as a family they decided the right thing to do was to give Skippy — now Gilbert — back to Worton.
Mr. Worton said he would let the Crayton family visit Gilbert anytime they want.
IACS said they encourage all pet owners to contact their chip company to ensure their dog's information is updated. They said that many times data is outdated making it difficult for them to reach the owners of stray dogs.