By James Fillmore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
5:39 PM EDT, July 23, 2013
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY-- A battle is brewing between a local pet owner and the Humane Society of St. Joseph County.
Gary Schieber is missing "Skeeter", his 3-year-old miniature dachshund and chihuahua mix.
He says, "She's considered a friend of mine."
He suffered a stroke and was in the hospital for several months before recently being released.
On Sunday some people came over to Gary's home to visit and Skeeter accidentally got out and ran away.
The next day Gary's daughter found Skeeter at the Humane Society of Saint Joseph County.
Kristie Schieber says the humane society told her it would cost $177 to get the dog back.
Gary is a Vietnam War veteran and is on a fixed income so Kristie asked if they could work out a payment plan but the humane society said no.
She says, "He deserves a little bit of respect I think, you know, that dog means everything to him."
The director of the humane society says they normally work with pet owners to get their animals back but that there were several problems with this case.
First of all Skeeter was not licensed and wasn't up to date on her rabies vaccination which breaks the law.
The director says the humane society isn't the bad guy and that people need to be more responsible when it comes to caring for their pets.
Carol Ecker says, "People promise to pay. They're crying at the front office, you know it's a priority and of course they light up a cigarette the minute they walk out of here. That's a five dollar pack of cigarettes. It's a priority about taking care of the animal or doing what they want to do."
Skeeter's family say she has never gotten out before and that they plan to stay on top of her license and vaccinations in the future.
The humane society says there are free rabies vaccination clinics every year so there is no excuse for not having Skeeter up to date.
The actual owner wasn't even clear.
The humane society says Kristie is the owner but Kristie says her father Gary owns Skeeter.