Moreno last saw his yellow lab the morning of September 4th.
“I was getting ready to go to work and I let him out because that’s normal to let him out and take care of his business,” Moreno said.
More than a week later, Moreno got a text from PetFinder, a microchip registry, alerting him that his dog had been found more than 1,600 miles away in Alexandria, Virginia.
Moreno says before that, he made multiple attempts to contact Mathis Animal Control to find Duke, but had no luck.
“The gates were locked with a chain and a lock, but no one came out,” Moreno said.
Mathis Police Chief Pedro Saenz said the dog was picked up by animal control on September 5th, just one day after he went missing.
Chief Saenz said per policy, Duke was held at animal control for seven days without being claimed, and was then turned over to an animal rescue out of Virginia.
A spokesperson from Lu’s Labs Rescue posted a passionate video statement online.
“So no, I’m sorry. We are not giving the dog over. He is legally our dog,” she said.
Chief Saenz said Moreno wasn’t contacted because the city of Mathis doesn’t have microchip reading technology and isn’t required to by the state.
The chief also added Duke had no tags on when he was found, which is a violation of city ordinances.
“He’s not just a dog, he’s a family member. It’s tough to not have him back with us here as a family,” Moreno said.
Lu’s Labs Rescue said they made their decision to put Duke up for adoption based on concern for the dog’s welfare.
Mario Moreno said he is pursuing legal action to get his dog back.