Dog Taken By Animal Control Goes Home After More Than 300,000 People Sign The Petition


Having a dog bears a huge responsibility and sacrifice, especially if you’re inclined to make your four-legged companion an unavoidable part of your family. The struggle is even harder when you need to move mountains to win a legal fight for your dog.

Liliana Arellano, a woman from Florence, South Carolina, never in her wildest dreams imagined that her ownership of Leo, a German Shepherd, would turn into a true legal nightmare.

Leo Was Picked Up In Front Of His Home

photo of Leo the GSD
Source: Liliana Arellano

One day, Liliana came back home and realized that her family pooch, Leo, was missing. She found a note by Florence County Environmental Services, saying that they have her dog and that she needs to reclaim it within fifteen days.

Turns out, Liliana’s neighbors deemed Leo aggressive and dangerous, after which this family dog was taken by the animal control.

a note by Florence County Environmental Services
Source: WMBF

Liliana called, but it was after 5 P.M. on Friday and nobody answered the phone. Then, she decided to text them via Facebook, asking if she could pick up her dog over the weekend, which they refused.

When she finally reached out on Monday, the staff told her that she couldn’t just release Leo, as her dog was now a court matter. 

photo of the gsd at the shelter

The true legal nightmare started for Liliana and her family. Even though there was no evidence whatsoever that Leo was aggressive towards anyone, he was kept in a shelter under the excuse that the court needed to decide on this matter. 

The family was devastated. They didn’t know what to do, as the shelter wouldn’t even let them see Leo.

“He is scared. He is lonely. He is confined to a cell. He has never bitten anyone. He is around kids and people all the time. We are concerned for his mental well-being. He is starting to go kennel crazy.”

A few days later, one of the witnesses came forward, saying that Leo was picked up from the porch and that he wasn’t wandering around the neighborhood. 

The family decided to go public! They created a Facebook group and began a petition to help their puppy get out of the shelter faster.

Over 300,000 People Signed The Petition

photo of a poor gsd at the shelter
Source: WMBF

Liliana and her family contacted the sheriff’s office and the FC Administrators Office, claiming that their boy was illegally taken away from them. 

However, the biggest support came from the public! After starting the petition, people soon got involved in the process, inclined to help the poor GSD. In record time, over 300,000 people signed the petition seeking justice for Leo.

Leo’s Finally Home

photo of Leo and his owner finally reunited
Source: WMBF

The court released Leo home after the first hearing, but the family still wants to pursue justice for their dog. 

“Thank you everyone for the love and support for the family. We are continuing to push to hold the facility and County accountable for their actions and their mismanagement of the facility.”

Still, what matters the most is that Leo’s finally with his family in their Florence home, far away from inhumane conditions and wrongful treatment. And, we really hope he never gets taken from his family again!