Owner of Lost Dog Says Impounder Charged Too Much

December 06, 2017 10:25 PM

Ashley Wellman left East Bethel City Hall Wednesday night in tears.

She didn't know if her plea to be reunited with her one-year old coon hound Duke would make a difference.


Wellman had explained to the City Council how Duke had run off from the family's home in Wyoming Nov. 17. 

The family spent the weekend looking for him. And by Monday, Wellman was a mess. 

After reaching out to the local Humane Society and various shelters in Anoka County, she turned to the internet. She posted a picture of her lost dog on a Facebook page, and that's when she learned he had been picked up by an Animal Control officer.

 "It's been tough," she said. "I've been trying every way I can to get him home. We are not irresponsible dog owners. We didn't neglect him."

The animal control officer who picked Duke up is Tammy Gimpl. 

She contracts with various communities in Anoka County through her private dog kennel - Gratitude Farms - based at her home.

So far this year, Gimpl said she's impounded 54 dogs in East Bethel. And in 14 cases, owners have not reclaimed their dogs.

Duke was one of the 54.

"The dog didn't have a tag, and she didn't know who he was, his identity or who he belonged to," said Gimpl's boss Jack Davis, the city administrator in East Bethel.

"There are two sides to the story, and it's tragic any time someone had their pet impounded. It's difficult for the owner and for the impound officer."

Per city ordinance, Gimpl was required to board the dog for five days. Davis confirmed Gimpl followed the law. 

If the owner didn't claim the dog in that time, Gimpl legally took ownership and could find a home, adopt it out or give it to a rescue. 

As part of her animal control contract, Davis said Gimpl was allowed to keep the fee if she adopted a dog out.

Ashley Wellman said she talked to Gimpl on day four. 

Wellman wanted to get Duke, but couldn't afford the $180 impound fee.  Wellman said she pleaded with Gimpl, but they couldn't agree on a price. 

Gimpl said she kenneled Duke one extra day to help out. But then Wellman was out of time. 

Through tears at the council meeting, Wellman urged officials to rethink their animal control policy.

"It's not fair that I was punished because of my financial situation and I couldn't get my dog back," Wellman said.

Davis said the city would review the impound fee and animal control procedures going forward. He said the city will also consider possible scenarios that could reunite Wellman with Duke.


Beth McDonough

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