The family of Matt and Amy Hersey had a very special Christmas break.
First they had big family affair on Christmas Day at Amy’s parents’ house, and baked and decorated a whole village of gingerbread houses, and exchanged gifts and shared memories, and then they and the kids drove down to this fantastic resort in Kissimmee, where they went snow tubing and saw ice sculptures and did a scavenger hunt, and then after that, they all drove back to Apalachicola and when they walked into their house Sunday night, they even got a new puppy, delivered to them right on a brand new rug in the middle of their living room!
The only thing is, it wasn’t on anybody’s wish list, it came as a complete surprise and now all they want is to re-gift it as soon as they can.
“It was literally laying on the carpet,” said Matt.
“It was maybe two days old,” said Amy.
In this case, Santa Claus came in the form of Bella, a 100-pound Rottweiler from next door, who found a way in through a covered-up doggie door to set up her own maternity ward.
“We used to have a blind dog here, so I put in a doggie door,” said Matt.
“The doggie door’s been closed for three years,” said Amy. “She literally dug the cover off the doggie door and that’s how she got in my house.”
In addition to leaving her pup, Bella rested on the couch and did some exploring of her own.
Matt said the damages weren’t catastrophic, mostly a couple pair of shoes, some kids’ toys, makeup brushes, but the dog’s presence lingers.
“We’ve had our couches and our rug for three weeks,” said Amy. “My couches and my rug smell like dog, and the white part of the rug was just filthy.”
The Herseys called law enforcement and animal control and both came out Sunday. But Bella couldn’t be caught, and there was some question whether there were more pups under the house, which was too tight for an adult to enter.
“I opened the door and put the puppy on the back porch,” said Amy. “I’m not her person and I was not fixing to be in the house between the mama dog and her puppy.”
Animal Control Head Fonda Davis said the puppy has been taken to animal control, and they are working to reunite it with Bella.
“If the dog was not vicious we would confiscate the dog and the puppy and return it to the owner,” said Davis.
The owner could be fined for allowing a dog to run loose as well. Amy said she heard the owner has already agreed to sign over the dog and the pup to animal control.
“I don’t want to see anything happen to this dog,” said Matt. “I think she’s territorial, and she thinks this is her house. I don’t think she’s a bad dog, she needs somebody to take care of her and have a fence. The guy supposedly paid a bunch of money for a pair of these dogs.”
Matt said the problem first started in April when Bella befriended him, and tore up a whole row of plants he had just put in.
“She doesn’t like to be tied up. She chewed up out of her enclosure she had, she chewed through a leash and then they gave up trying to get her,” he said. “
“She’ll walk up and take a treat out of Matt’s hand,” said Amy. “Matt’s the only person who can get close to this dog.”
Amy said the couple has sealed up the back entrance. “We’ve since blocked the doggie door up better,” she said. “She can’t get back in but it didn’t stop her from trying.”
Matt said he would like to see a better family adopt the animals. “I don’t want anything too bad to happen to this dog. She just went to the wrong people,” he said. “I don’t blame the dog for this situation, I blame its owner.”
“It’s not our dog,” said Amy.
Meanwhile, animal control is doing all it can to resolve the situation, especially since there are reports that she’s nipped people a few times.
“We’re going to take the dog and confiscate it, and evaluate the dog,” said Davis. “If there’s no signs of aggressive behavior, we’ll get humane society to adopt it.
“We’re going to make every effort to get any more of the puppies. We will let the dog nourish until they’re weaned off from there,” he said.
“It's very important that people keep their dog in their yard, tied or whatever,” Davis said. “They need to keep this from happening.”