UPDATE: Charlene High was reunited with her cat, Donna, after staff at the Humane Society were able to work out a solution between her and the New York family that was going to adopt the 5-year-old Cornish Rex.
Little Donna went missing in February when contractors were installing a wheelchair ramp in High’s home and she got spooked as so many cats do, running out of the house.
She was found on March 14 and brought to the Humane Society of Highlands County, where staff held her for the mandatory five days before listing her for adoption.
In the meantime, High — who had been calling around to local shelters, posting Donna’s photo online and looking for her in the neighborhood — saw a social media post about a cat who had been found. The staff at the Humane Society named her Karena, but she was High’s Donna, and High said she was “ecstatic” her kitty was alive.
High and Donna couldn’t be immediately reunited, however. A family from New York had filed adoption papers for Donna and were planning on driving down to Tampa to pick up the cat.
Staff at the Humane Society worked to find a solution for everyone involved.
“We had to do some backchanneling and talking to the adopters and trying to find a solution with the adopters while also talking to Ms. Charlene,” said Sara Olivero, a staffer at the Humane Society of Highlands County. “We’ve had to do a lot of shuffling, a lot of phone calls, a lot of phone tagging.”
Ultimately, Donna’s would-be adopters agreed that she should be returned home, and will adopt a kitten instead, Olivero said. Donna was spayed, given a day to recover at the shelter, and was reunited with High on Tuesday.
“Ms. Charlene felt bad. The situation was bad to begin with,” Olivero said. Thankfully the solution was satisfactory to all and “every party is happy” with the outcome.
A Fox13 Tampa Bay (WTVT) story about the situation was aired and published to the web on Monday after the resolution, but presented the story as if the dispute was ongoing in addition to including several errors of fact.
We contributed to the flow of misinformation by linking to the WTVT story 11 hours after it was published, a practice called aggregation, and added our own commentary based on the misinformation. We got burned, and the result was presenting an inaccurate and outdated account of events to our readers.
We regret the error and promise to do better in the future. We’re glad the Humane Society found a satisfactory solution in a difficult situation, and we’re glad that Donna the cat has been returned to her original home.