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Community steps up to free dog

Auburn man says pitbull like a child to him
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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An Auburn man’s wish to retrieve his “stolen” dog was granted by generous Auburn area residents this week. After reading a letter to the editor submitted by Chris Gidcumb in Tuesday’s Auburn Journal, several readers called the newspaper and Placer County’s animal shelter asking how they could help the 26-year-old man get his dog back. Gidcumb wrote in his letter that his dog was stolen. When he discovered that his pitbull named Buddy was inside the county’s shelter, he was told he would have to pay for its release. Gidcumb said the economy had hit him hard and he could not afford to pay to spring the pooch who kept him warm last year when he couldn’t find work and was living out of his truck. “I love that dog like my own child,” Gidcumb wrote. He then asked if anyone knew of anything he could do. By mid-Tuesday morning, upward of 10 people had called the Journal and about half-a-dozen called the shelter, all willing to pay for Buddy’s release. “(The Journal) has some very nice readership,” Mike Winters, program manager of Placer County Animal Services, said Tuesday. Winters had called Gidcumb Tuesday morning to say that he would waive the fees and release Buddy. However, he said he found out prior to his release that he did not have authority to waive fees. Winters said Gidcumb has the donations from helpful citizens to thank for his dog’s return. Buddy has been inside the county’s animal shelter before, Winters said. When Gidcumb was living out of his truck, he had tied Buddy and another dog to a water spigot in the evening hours, according to an animal control report, Winters said. Gidcumb said he left the dogs with a bowl of water while he went to buy new clothes. However, a citizen spotted the dogs and called the Sheriff’s Office, which in turn called animal control. Gidcumb said he claimed the dogs within a few hours and Winters confirmed that both animals were released to him. Winters said that an animal control officer contacted Gidcumb another time after that but said the dog was not taken away from Gidcumb. This is the third time Animal Services has dealt with Gidcumb and Buddy. Gidcumb said two Saturdays ago, he went to feed Buddy and did not find him in his backyard. He heard from a friend that he thought the dog was in the shelter. Gidcumb then called the shelter to confirm the information. Winters said a good Samaritan called to say they spotted the dog and an animal control officer picked up Buddy. Winters added that the total fee for Buddy’s release was $167, which included $107 for the second impound and $60 for boarding. Winters also addressed the content of Gidcumb’s letter. Buddy was not tested for worms and the county would not charge Gidcumb the fees if they indeed had to euthanize the pitbull, Winters said. Before Gidcumb and Buddy were reunited, Winters stressed that Gidcumb needed to make sure Buddy stayed in a safe place. “I think you owe it to those people to have a little responsibility,” Winters said. “So don’t get him picked up again.” Gidcumb said Buddy was kept in the backyard of a home he was renting with roommates. He said he moved into the house about three months ago after he found work at the Auburn Denny’s where he fills in two graveyard shifts a week. “I’m barely scraping by,” Gidcumb said. Gidcumb said he is planning to move to another residence in a few weeks so he has a place where he can keep Buddy inside when necessary. News that Gidcumb and Buddy were together again brought joy to several of the readers who called in ready to help. Foresthill resident Debbie Shoreen said she and her father, Ken, wanted to contribute toward the cost. “I was so upset,” Shoreen said. “I lost my job but I was going to find a way to get the money no matter what.” Loomis resident Chandra Shannon said she was getting ready to go to the shelter herself to pay for the dog’s release. “It really makes me happy to know he got his dog back,” Shannon said. Auburn resident Joan Anderson, who offered to donate toward the cost, added that she, too, was happy to hear of the reunion. “I’d use the money for a dog any day,” Anderson said. Tuesday morning Gidcumb had just finished a graveyard shift at Denny’s and was operating on two hours of sleep but said he grateful to have Buddy back again. “It’s great,” Gidcumb said. “It’s kind of amazing. When I first heard the fees, I thought, ‘no way.’ I thought this will be a great Christmas with no dog.” When asked what he would say to those who offered to help him, Gidcumb responded, “Thank you very much.” Reach Jenifer Gee at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.