One dog has two owners fighting over him, each claiming the black Labrador retriever mix is theirs.
This is a dog one family has come to love, essentially a member of their family. They adopted him as a puppy and raised him, and that is what makes this so painful.
Allen Hill remembers the sad morning in June 2009 when he looked in the back yard and saw his that his beautiful dog, Cole Bear, wasn't there.
"The next morning, I got up, went outside to feed him, and he was gone," Allen Hill said.
The family then went into detective mode. They hung pictures, made phone calls and met with humane society workers. They knew Cole Bear would be found because he was microchipped with the Hills' contact information.
"That way if he got out, or if he did get stolen, they could scan and get him back to me," Hill said.
Three years had passed, and then last month they got the call they've been waiting for. Cole Bear was found in Leawood, but they weren't able to take him home.
"We went through the pain of the last three years, and then we went through all the pain again," Patty Hill said.
The Hills say, and police confirm, that Cole Bear was given to another family who had legally adopted him through Wayside Waifs. By law, animal control had to give the dog to that other family.
"It was a tough, tough decision. There was a tremendous amount of emotion on both sides," said Leawood Deputy Police Chief Troy Rettig.
Wayside Waifs said there was no record of the dog in the system, but they will continue to investigate.
The not-for-profit humane society and animal welfare organization said they scan every dog for microchips and do a thorough investigation before a dog is put on the adoption floor.
However, the Hills say someone dropped the ball by not scanning Cole Bear.
"If I don't get my dog back, I just don't want it to happen to somebody else," Allen Hill said.
Police have not released the name of the other family or the new name of the dog, so there is no way of knowing if Cole Bear is in Wayside Waifs system under a different name.
The Hills have contacted a lawyer and are exploring all legal options.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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