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Animal Shelter Worker Torn After Their Neighbor’s Neglected Dog Turns Up At Their Work

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The health and safety of pets can be as important as any family member. And when someone who loves dogs sees someone else not treating their animals right, it can be endlessly frustrating.

It’s worse for AShelterWorker, a Redditor who like their username implies, works for an animal shelter. But they find themselves in a bit of a situation at their job.

The original poster (OP) wants to know if they would be a jerk to not notify their boss about something they may know, and so they ask “Would I be the A**hole” (WIBTA) on Reddit.

The question is:

“WIBTA if I didn’t tell him where his lost dog is?”

This is OP’s situation:

“Throwaway account because the legality of this is questionable.”

“I have worked at this animal shelter for 5 years. I love my job. Everyday we save dogs, reunite them with their owners, and find them new homes. I wouldn’t trade it for the world… but today we had a woman bring us a dog she found wondering the street near her house.”

“I recognized the dog instantly. I’m going to call him Spot for the sake of this post, because I am not very creative.”

“Spot belongs to my neighbor. I have spent the past 3 years watching Spot wither away over my fence. He lives in a shed, on a heavy chain, and never once have I seen my neighbor play with him, or bring him inside.”

“All through winter, rain, storms, etc, Spot stays outside.”

“I’ve reported him for neglect more times than I can count, and seen no change to the way Spot lives. I had extra fencing from when I put up my fence, and I offered it to my neighbor so that Spot could get off the chain, and live in a fenced in yard instead. He didn’t accept the offer.”

“A few days ago Spot disappeared from his shed. I didn’t know what happened, if he died, or was given away, etc… all I knew was he was gone. Now here’s here, at my work.”

“I’ve done this job for 5 years, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out which dogs have the best chance at adoption, and a dog like Spot? A purebred male as handsome as him? Only 3 years old? I’d bet on him finding a home within a few weeks.”

“Besides, we’re a no-kill shelter. If he stays here, he’ll either live with us until he dies of natural causes, or be adopted out.”

“So now I’m sitting here, asking myself ‘Do I tell my boss I know this dog’s owner, or do I keep my mouth shut?’ If I tell her, she’ll be legally required to contact him and give Spot back… but if I keep my mouth shut, Spot has a damn good chance at a better life.”

“WIBTA if I kept my mouth shut?”

On the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit, people are judged for their actions in a story. When they ask WIBTA, people are judged for the course of action they’re considering taking.

This is done with one of the following comments:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The commenters determined the health and safety of the dog was more important than possible rules and regulations.

This means OP would not be TA if they didn’t notify their boss about the dog’s owner.

“NTA. When a dog runs away one of the first things you should do is check local shelters.”

“If Spot’s owner doesn’t care enough to even do that then by all means let Spot roll the dice and try to get a better family. It doesn’t sound like he could do much worse.” – Trashmanjoe

“Nta you are a hero! Does he seem more happy at the shelter? Just wondering. I wouldn’t be able to handle watching him be mistreated by your neighbor like that” – ImtheScooterB

“He seems stressed, but most dogs are their first night at the shelter. He wolfed down two bowls of kibble already, poor guy’s been missing for a few days, so I assume he hasn’t eaten much.” – AShelterWorker

“NTA. This is one of those miracle chances to improve Spots life. Think about how likely this kind of thing is to happen with someone like you in the position that you are in.”

“It’s like you’ve been given the chance to finally actively help this pupper” – alexxthehottie

However, this all may be a big hullabaloo over nothing. After all who’s to say that the dog in the shelter is Spot?

A lot of dogs can look very similar.

“NTA. ‘It MIGHT be spot, but you’re not sure…’ HINT HINT HINT!”

“(In other words, you’re not sure enough to call!)” – Oscar-D-Grouch70

“So true, and he’s a purebred? There’s a standard to purebred dogs, they all look pretty similar.”


“First rule, do no harm.” – CaliforniaJade


“Are you sure it’s Spot? Absolutely sure?”

“And are you sure he ran away? For all you know the neighbor dumped his dog on the streets and therefore relinquished ownership.”

“But from your post, I’m not entirely sure Spot is your neighbor’s dog. They sound similar, sure, but I don’t know.”

“And unless I was 100% sure, I wouldn’t be sending a random dog to be neglected by my neighbor.” – PotatoLover-3000

“YWNBTA. How can you be sure it’s Spot? Are we ever sure of anything in this world, really? 🙂 And if it did turn out to be Spot, good.” – Gold-Quality2920

“Technically, legally you may be the a-hole, however morally you are the good guy and I am very very convinced you did not find spot, that dog is most definitely not spot, you are very sorely mistaken in that boy’s identity.”

“That boy that is not spot will get a lovely home thanks to you, so be proud of that. NTA.” – GEoDLeto

“It`s awesome to see how many people are all thinking that OPs powers of observation are not absolute and 100% accurate. Which I agree, since who is 100% ??” – Professional_Duck564

In the end OP update their post and agreed that they couldn’t be sure that the dog was Spot.


“Y’all are right. Who’s Spot? Never seen this dog before in my life.”

If OP’s neighbor is missing their dog, they can check shelters and try to find him. If not, and if this dog truly is Spot, then perhaps the dog can find a new loving home.

If you love and care for your dog and are worried about it running away and getting lost, many local shelters offer free microchipping. Look into what they can offer for you and your beloved pet.


Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.