A Sacramento County Animal Shelter recently adopted out a missing dog even after the original owner came by to pick it up.

Alec Nygard lost his Chihuahua-Miniature Pinscher mix, Rosemary, on April 4 from his home in Cameron Park. Rosemary was brought Sacramento County’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter, 22 miles away from his home that same day.

According to California law, shelter’s must hold animals for 72 hours before putting them up for adoption. Nygard said he looked at shelters all over but didn’t find Rosemary until April 8, by that time she had already been adopted out to a new owner that had no intentions of returning the dog.

While most new owners would usually return the adopted dog to the original owner, they do not have to, according to Front Street Animal Shelter manager Gina Knepp.

The Front Street Shelter will hold animals for three days before putting them up for adoption. If the animal has a microchip, rabies or other ID tag – Shelter employees will attempt for at least 10 days to get in contact with the owner before putting the animal up for adoption.

“That’s our number one goal is reuniting pets with their proper owner but if we can’t, we’ve got to place them into new homes and keep the flow going here,” Knepp said. “If not then euthanasia rates go up and nobody wants that.”

Knepp stresses the importance of microchip, registering your pet, and tagging them with identification.

However, if you lose your pet and it does not have any of those identifiers, pet experts say to bring photos your pet and photos with your pet, veterinary information, and any other proof of ownership.

About 11,000 animals were brought to the Front Street shelter in 2016, Knepp said. About 20 percent of the 5,500 dogs were returned to their owners and 90 of 5,500 cats were returned. Microchips and tags were critical in those returns, Knepp said.