Playing keep-away with a little lost dog

By the Herald editorial staff

Arrogance, stubbornness and smug superiority mark the local Mikey's Chance dog group, no matter what its objectives are.

Valerie Landon, director of the small Kennewick group that got its hands on Rags, a little Lhasa Apso that belonged to Cheryl Ovall from Vancouver, Wash., won't release the dog back to its rightful owner.

Landon seems to be in cruise control on a power trip.

Ovall lost Rags in the Tri-Cities in June. She had owned him for three years, but Landon required her to apply to adopt him.

Then Mikey's Chance turned down the adoption request.

It seems Ovall didn't come up to Landon's standards in caring for her dog.

This judgment she made by looking at a dog that had been missing for two months.

So, a woman loses a dog, searches for it, advertises for its return, checks out the local animal control agencies (although not, apparently, Mikey's Chance), and when she finally finds him is told she's just not good enough to get her own dog back.

It's not surprising that the dog's owner didn't think to contact Mikey's Chance.

A search of the Herald's electronic news files for the past 18 years reveals that Mikey's Chance never appeared in the news columns until last Wednesday.

And it has not escaped our notice that the imperious Landon admits she didn't like the dog owner's "attitude" from early on.

She thinks the dog owner should have communicated with Mikey's Chance earlier.

The Herald's Joe Chapman reported that Mikey's Chance has taken Rags (although they call him Oliver) off the adoption block until the controversy over him "blows over."

"I have been so swamped with hate mail from people who read misinformation," Landon said.

"People will read what they want to read and believe what they want to believe."

She told Chapman she received messages sent to the Mikey's Chance e-mail address, which people found on the group's website after they read the Herald's story.

"It will blow over, it will end," Landon said of the controversy.

We think she is incorrect if by "blow over" she means people will forget about Mikey's Chance if Rags doesn't go back to his rightful owner.

They will remember this episode for a long, long time.

On Thursday Mikey's Chance had 10 dogs listed by name, sex and breed, along with photos on its website.

The 10: Titan, Poco, Chance, Tank, Twinkie, Ty, Dusty, Davey, Diva and Baby. (Although all apparently answered to other names in their former lives. Mikey's Chance renames the dogs it gets its hands on.)

The nonprofit charges on a sliding scale, with Landon admitting the group charges more -- up to $300 -- for small, "cute" dogs.

Like Rags.

Now the Herald's readers love dogs. Just ask Chocolate.

We suspect that Mikey's Chance, like many nonprofit animal groups, does what it thinks is best for animals. Apparently Mikey's Chance saves dogs that otherwise might be euthanized.

But the group now has burst upon the Tri-City scene with a monumental public relations problem and a fairness issue with a pet owner whose dog it has taken and will not give back.

Someone in authority, besides Landon, better step in right away.

She's still in cruise control.