Annie to be returned to original owner

August 29, 2010

The Arroyo Grande woman who currently has Annie the dog told a reporter Saturday that the family intends to return the dog to her original owner. [Santa Maria Times]

The woman, using the name Sasha Sampson to protect her identity, said in an email that she intends to return Annie, the 8-year-old Australian shepherd, once she has a chance to speak directly to Chuck Hoage in Nipomo.

Explaining the family’s side of the story, Sampson said in her e-mail an Animal Services employee in San Luis Obispo called to ask in July whether they were interested in giving Annie back because the former owner had surfaced.

“I replied, ‘We were very happy with her,’” Sampson said, adding that her husband made the same statement to the Animal Services manager, Dr. Eric Anderson, who visited the house in July to see if the family would consider returning Annie.

The announcement follows an earlier dramatic posting on Facebook Friday night when Sampson lashed out at county officials, Supervisor Adam Hill, The Tribune, and radio talk show host Dave Congalton for how the family has been treated since adopting Annie in July.

When contacted by CalCoastNews Saturday morning, Hoage said he had called Sampson and left a message, asking to meet, but had not yet heard a response.

Verena Maier, the Arroyo Grande businesswoman who has taken an active role in securing the return of Annie to Hoage, declined comment Saturday night. “We are hopeful this information is correct,” she said. “However, we won’t celebrate until Annie is finally home.”

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John Paul II at Aug 29th 2010 10:35 PM

It bugs me a bit of how this entire situation is publicized and reported about, including most of the comments on the FaceBook site “Give Chuck Hoage his Dog Back!”.

I would have loved to join a Facebook site that carries the title “Support Chuck to reunite with his dog”, but the commanding language of “Give … Back!” is simply disrespectful of the new owners who truly and really did nothing wrong.

Further, KSBY is getting worse and worse with how they carry news and other messages to the public. That station shall be closed immediately and reopened under new leadership, with new unbiased reporting style, etc.

Who or what in the world gives KSBY the right to report “Her new family has refused to return her, saying they did nothing wrong.? Does KSBY have the actual statement? Then quote it so. Otherwise, this is the worst of the worst news stations in this country with biased reporting and taking sides on issues. The entire situation is pretty clear in legal terms: The new owners are the new owners. Period. Annimal Services did nothing wrong. People are outraged that Chuck has not gotten his dog back, yet nobody of this clown support group of Facebook mentions a word that he never went to the Animal Shelter to physically check if his ?so much beloved dog Annie? has been dropped off. How much can you possibly love a dog if you do not even physically check the most obvious location to search at?

Now, with that being said, yes, I would absolutely love to see his dog returned but the circumstances need to be almost upside down. There is so much wrong doing by the public (that is all the supporters of Chuck on Facebook) that some open wounds need to be healed. I cannot even image the pain the current owners must feel by all the unreasonable outcry and hate the Facebook group has instilled into most of the public minds. Dave Congalton would be well advised to close this biased and filled with incorrect information filled Facebook group or at least do the right thing and rename it to something more respectful for both parties involved. This Facebook group serves nothing but hatred and more twist in an already gotten very complex situation. Bottom line: The new owners will be the victims at the end of the day. Like it or not, that?s just the fact. You people (including KSBY) need to understand that by biased reporting, posting wrong information, you simply corner the new owners where there is only one way out. That?s brute mental and psychological force that does not serve anyone good. I know KSBY is all about money and business and hence they will report whatever it takes to make a popular statement. However, in this case the statements have not all been true and correct and that is a shame and just pitiful. This reporting style does not serve anybody. No thank you KSBY!

It is really time and overdue to give this issue some rest and peace. I would ask all of Chuck?s supporters to stand back and clearly ask themselves one question: Is it right to spill as much hate as you folks did about a family that really has not done anything wrong? Wouldn?t it be better to rephrase all of your wordings a bit to make it more respectful and kind towards the current new owner but still supporting Chuck in the hopes that the new owners will find a peaceful and voluntary solution to return his dog to him? Further, I would ask the family, which currently owns Annie to take a walk at the beach or wherever they find some peaceful time without the dog and ask themselves of what they would like another party do in that situation if their dog got spooked and ended up in somebody else?s hands? Put the microchip, missing collar and fact that you have not search the shelter physically for a moment because we all know what these facts really mean. However, people do make mistakes and at the end of the day we should be loving and forgiving. It?s too bad that the Facebook group with its current existence pretty much eliminates the option for everything to settle peacefully. Simply the title is offending. You can?t negotiate the fact. So, Dave Congalton, it is also up to you to decide of how you want to handle the truth and facilitate peace in the community. Your current Facebook group serves hatred and biased messaging. You need to decide of which way to go with that fact.

I hope that all people learn some life lessons from this situation and adopt some more peaceful problem solving, and learn the transforming of negative to positive energy.

Thank you!

I agree with what you wrote Dave but no need to put down people being “Anonymouse”

I was close to using my real name but with some of the unstable people on this site and on other sites there is no way I would do so now.

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

News flash Dave… are a PUBLIC figure while I would wager the majority of us posting on this site are not thus, it is only right and proper you are clearly identified while the rest of us can continue to post anonymously as is our right… that plain enough for you? Just because you don’t like the messenger doesn’t mean the message is wrong. And seriously, your use of belittling terms like anonymouse and anonymice is pretty pedestrian for someone who is supposedly a writer and journalist of some merit.

Sheesh already,

thecat anonymousandproudofit

Just plain ugliness, mouse. Your pasquinades betray a dishonorable and cowardly moral. That you aim toward a public figure is no justification for low snipes. Public status only raises the standard for defamation to where “actual malice” is required to prove liability. That means “reckless disregard”, which you are certainly displaying. Criticism of a public figure in no way relieves you from human and moral obligations to be responsible for injury and just plain despicable behavior.

Face it, anonymity is a tool for cowardice and a means of playing a trump card on your opponent. If you thought for one second that your harassment is just and called for you shouldn’t have to hide. I’ll say it again: words mean nothing unless you are willing to stand for them. Sniping indicates lack of willingness to stand for your claims. In other words, emptiness.

I took a steadfast stance against Dave on a prior article and put myself out for the return shots. I probably disagree with Dave on most things politically, but still know he provides room for all opinions and is a gentleman. Why not debate cleanly? Don’t even blow that garbage implying that Dave has some duty to succumb to personal attacks because he is a journalist! You have every much the same duty!

I’ve been slathered with junk mail, threats, and incessant pecking hens because I put my name on my writs.

Onymous and proud.

People who would disagree with a slorider or others like you are not the type of people to become so unstable as to become stupid in the extreme.

Just your actions on this one issue have brought to light what you and others of your ilk are capable of. Add your behavior while discussing the Oceano Dunes, the politics of A.G. and some other issues and you have really gone over the line.

What kind of a person attempts to “out” a person and then when they confront you you write “are you scared yet”? And then you laugh about it like it is a fun thing to do. You’ve done that several times just from what I can tell. You and people like you have issues, real issues and you need help.

content removed by moderator,

“I’ve been slathered with junk mail, threats, and incessant pecking hens because I put my name on my writs.”

That’s good enough reason for me to stay anonymous. It’s wonderful that you feel so righteous about putting your name on your rambles but anonymity does not make a comment right or wrong and it certainly doesn’t stop you from responding to it.

Also, is that harassment as defined in the Penal Code?

Geez SLORider….what got your knickers in a twist? Post anonymously or not, your choice dude but you don’t get to post anonymously then rail at me for doing the exact same thing… just makes no sense and brings to mind the pot-kettle dilemna. And don’t buy into the sucker argument that someone who uses their true name somehow has a more valid viewpoint… just aint so. Not to mention the typical experience you had when others won’t respect your position and will choose to harass you about it outside of the arena where the original disagreement took place makes this a no brainer.

safe posting out there campers,


Again all this could of been avoided with one little act of kindness…

In memory of Hurricane Katrina, our group reunited thousands of pets with their families after the storm. Most adopters of Katrina pets returned the pets back to their families, and a very small percentage did not. The movie MINE is based upon this very emotional experience, it was aired on PBS and now on DVD.

In the cases where the adopters chose not to return the pet, there were no winners except for the lawyers. 98 pct of the cases ruled in favor of the original family. Sadly, one was a deaf woman who hid in the attic of her home with her microchipped service dog. When the National Guard found her they rescued her, then threw her dog overboard. The dog was found and shipped out to CA. Months later we found the dog online and it was adopted out to a woman in San Mateo. She refused to return it, knowing it was a hearing dog. Later, the owner took her own life which we believe was attributed to the long fight in trying to get her dog returned to her. She could not believe that people were so cruel. If anyone should be sued, it should have been the Marin County shelter but they washed their hands of it due to the fact the dog was in someone else’s possession. An expensive lawyer I am sure would have won a judgement in favor of the owner.

As I said, there are no winners. I applaud SLO in rallying for the return of a family pet as it is the right thing to do. However, I can understand the adoptive family point of view especially if the children have become attached. Bottom line, do we teach them what is right although it may be fret with emotion, or do we shield them from hurt at someone else’s expense.

The lesson I’ve learned in these past five years is that a stolen TV has more rights than a family pet, because it is deemed as one’s property.

I’m glad Annie is going back to Hoage, who I hope to God puts a collar with tags on her now.

If half the people who were so vigilant about driving this campaign had put half that effort into helping out the other dogs and cats at Animal Services, a few dozen dogs and cats’ lives would have been saved in that same period. Sadly, they were euthanized because of a lack of space at the shelter to accommodate them.

Sadly, I think most will go to sleep happy with themselves and forget all about helping the +3,000 homeless dogs and cats that run through Animal Services’ doors each year…

Not me, I couldn’t work around someone like “a postingcat”. The person has not helped the image of Animal Services and makes me have 2nd thoughts about their operation. I have heard so many stories about this operational center and these types of statements make me quite concerned about who and how it is operated. I think at this point the County Grand Jury should certainly review this operation.

What have you done Zuke? My wife and I support Chuck and we have two rescued dogs and two rescued cats.

Because I’m selfish and cared, one of the first things I did for my pets was to have them ‘chipped’. by my vet. That way, if they were injured and/ or ‘found’ by animal patrol, I’d be notified. Owner’s responsibility.

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas……advocating logic and personal responsibility to this saga is an oxymoron to many posters on this site. It’s much better to harass, hound, libel and trash a person on the net then to expect the original owner to have done some fairly simple things to keep his supposedly beloved pet safe from the get go and avoiding this whole mess to start with.

And speaking of personal responsibility… Annie now spayed courtesy of DAS or the new owner and if not, will she be spayed soon? One can only imagine who will be at fault should she develop pyometra and require emergency intervention to save her life. And if she developes mammary carcinoma any time in the future, that should be laid directly at Mr. Hogue’s feet as there is a very close correlation to unspayed, older females developing this terminal disease.

The moral to this sad story is: properly identify your dog (tags, license, microchip, all of the above), spay/neuter them at an appropriate age and have them adequately restrained at all times and even then, something bad/unexpected may occur but at least you know you’ve done the basics to ensure a long, healthy life. Ohhh….. and if you have the time to do something constructive, go down to DAS or any other rescue organizations in this county and volunteer to walk dogs, pet the cats or even foster an animal if you can……they’ll certainly appreciate it.

thecat whoalreadydoesafairshareofanimalrescuerehabandplacementofstrayandabandonedanimals

I have sat back and tried to be neutral on these posts. But, I have to say, reading this tonight has pushed my button. Ffor someone that promotes taking good care of your animals, doing the right thing, volunteering at the shelter, etc. you certainly lack grace and pomote anger. I wouldn’t want you around my animals because you live in a glass house that lacks oxgyen. Sorry, but you asked for this post!

SLOBIRD… don’t have to apologize and you don’t have to “like” me……my sense of self worth is not tied up in what others think on a public posting board :)

And if I live in a “glass house” it is precisely because after years of dealing with abandoned, stray and mistreated animals by our fellow citizens in this county that I have developed some frustration, lack of patience and yes, even anger. I don’t volunteer at DAS and never have but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the tough position they frequently find themselves in ;i.e. budget short falls, old facility, lack of steady, long-term employees with animal skills unique to shelters, clear short and long term goal(s) of their position in the community, etc.

If a tenth of the energy directed at this saga would be put to go use in upgrading our local facility, taking care of our own pets properly, encouraging our friends and neighbors to do the same, etc. etc. then many of the terrible stories that come out of there on almost a daily basis would cease to some appreciable extent. It is the exception and sadly not the rule that when animals are brought into DAS, they often don’t have adequate identification, are suffering from long term diseases that aren’t adequately addressed by owners (ie poor dental health, chronic skin conditions, etc.) and are just plain not wanted.

As for myself, all of my pets past and current were rescues/strays in need of medical attention, support and a fresh start in life. What does that really mean? Nothing much except I walk the walk and talk the talk in my own life; all my animals have multiple forms of ID, are spayed/neutered, are under either leash or voice restraint or both, are legally licensed with DAS, are current on Rabies vacc and Heartworm preventative, routinely get topical flea products, etc etc. I continue to do what I can with the resources I have available for animals that come across my path; the fact that I recognize I can’t save them all or even an appreciable percentage but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying.


I had heard that Mr. Hoague had Annie spayed years ago. California State Law states:

“Shelters should not adopt out animals that are not spayed or neutered.”

The San Luis Obispo Animal Shelter now contracts with Woods Humane Society and shelter animals go there to be spayed. No animals leave the Shelter for their adoptive homes unless they are spayed or neutered. So “yes” Annie was most definitely spayed one way or the other.

For Annie’s sake, I hope that the vet, when he shave her for the second spaying, found the original spay scar.

When Annie has in FACT, been returned to Mr. Hoage, it is only THEN, that I will breathe a sigh of releaf! After the way “Sasha” talked in her letter, I’m not sure when or IF Annie will be returned.

Im very glad that this dog is going back but now that its resolved, or at least appears to be, Im wondering if this was ever totally how it appeared to be.

I could understand how reluctant they might be to give back the dog after becoming attached and perhaps they didnt think it all the way through. The communities reaction was swift, resolute and quite posibly strident. I have to admit I fell into all three of those catagories, but what if this thing got so quickly out of hand and ugly that they found themselves in a defensive position and peoples negative reactions and prsonal judgements made seeing the right thing all the more difficult. Then again maybe they are total dueche bags Ill never really know. Sometimes we need to look at the pitch forks and torches in our hands and question our own actions and motives because all good intentions aside we might be making a bad sittution worse

Assuming the dog is returned

Lets review the basics in no particular order;

At no point in time was Annie harmed. Mr. Hoag received the pleasure of knowing his long time companion is alive. A local radio personality took action using the tools at his disposal. A local animal adoption agency was revealed to be less efficient than some optimal standard. US. Soldiers died in Iraq. Local political figures became involved.

People expressed their opinions. People expressed their judgments. People expressed their judgments of other peoples opinions. People expressed their opinions based on their judgment of what other people were thinking.

Thanks LosOsos Kid for laying out the pitchfork mentality assessement.

All Dogs go to heaven.

ososkid, This didn’t go public until they said that they would not return Annie. Dr Anderson even spoke with them and if he thought that Chuck was a good owner then they had to reason to believe that she hadn’t been well cared for and loved. It was their self centered mentality that got everyone up in arms.

As for her letter, it is all about her, she never even apologizes or admits any wrong doing. She is defensive and play’s the victim when the real victim is Chuck.

BTW, I think it’s spelled douche bag, but I knew what you meant ;)

Cindy, lol I guess in france they might be spelled that way, I dont buy a lot of them so I dont know

Looks like harassment prevails. I’m sure the family will be well compensated for their troubles.

Just good old “human compassion” coming your way and lots of hugs!!!!!

Wrong. There is a clear line between freedom of speech and harassment; the latter was never breached. Those that stepped near the line were quickly rebuked by all (including the one comment from Fresno meticulously gleaned by Bob Cuddy out of thousands to erect a controversial straw man for his article). The righteous spin applied by a few implied falsehoods to serve their own position and escalate a false appearance. In reality, at no time was there ever threats or harassment–and there clearly could not be since the name is even still anonymous.

Both threats and harassment are clearly defined in the Penal Code, and both require “credible threats” or “course of conduct”. A threat cannot be credible if a supposed target is unknown and, specifically, Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.”

Unbased, shouted claims will surely continue to be made, but simply making them–no matter how loudly–does not make them true. Community voice does not equal pitchforks, nor threats, nor harassment. Community voice–and, even one voice–is Constitutionally protected free speech, and it ends there.

A big THANK YOU for doing the right thing!

Regardless of whether you feel if this is harassment or not, this woman will get paid.

That’s funny. You and Cindy have caused more damage to this entire process than can be imagined.

T.P.– Disagree, and I will continue to pervade as a stentorian for what is right. You have been an anonymous coward for months… years?? Why should I, or anyone, put stock in your words when you won’t even do it yourself? Same goes for knowitall, et al. Words are worth T.P. if you won’t even stand behind them yourself.

There is no “process” to doing the right thing. Annie should have been returned immediately. And if the adopter cares one whit about what you or I say then, well, then that’s not a bit in Annie’s interest or about doing the right thing.

On the Trib site you acted like a boor and told your minions to censure other comments. Cindy did the same thing and said that she had the adopters name and was going to release it. You both threaten to release the names and information of people whose comments you don’t like. It doesn’t matter what the issue is that is your standard operating procedure. Lose an argument and “out” someone. Weak minds in weak people.

I hope he gets his dog back soon. I figured it would happen, just not taking this long.

Good work Dave.

Dear T.P.– Still disagree. You and your mob continue to do nothing to forward dialog and only perpetrate personal attacks. Your comments should be censored. You haven’t discussed one bit of the subject matter. I’ll continue to out anonymous cowards at every opportunity. Your words mean nothing when you, yourself, won’t even stand behind them. On that, you lose.

Finally, doing the right thing…

Bravo, All’s well that ends well. Thank You for following your heart and doing the right thing by Annie and Chuck who loves her. I think that has been much learned from this.

THANK YOU to the family that adopted Annie… You just did a wonderful thing here and you followed your “HEART” So happy for Chuck and Annie but also sad for your loss. I hope you find an aussie soon to love as much as Chuck loves Annie. Sending you nothing but love and well wishes.