Man faces charges for retrieving pet from shelter

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— A local pet owner now finds himself in the doghouse after trying to get his dog out of one.

Douglas Garber, 36, faces second-degree burglary charges after breaking into the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter Sunday afternoon to retrieve his black Lab.

Garber was leaving the shelter with pet in tow when an off-duty animal control officer spotted him and alerted authorities.

According to police reports, Garber told police he visited the animal shelter twice Sunday.

His first visit to the animal shelter proved unsuccessful when his dog did not respond to his calls from outside the shelter.

He left a message on the animal shelter's answering machine and continued his search around town.

Garber returned to the animal shelter later in the afternoon. His persistence paid off when the Lab responded to his calls.

Garber, however, could not retrieve the animal through the outside kennel, so he looked for an opening elsewhere.

He found an unlocked door and yelled to see if anyone was inside the building. His entry triggered the shelter's alarm.

According to reports, Garber said he located his pet's kennel, freed the dog and exited the building.

Animal control officer Sanne Pollak saw the pet owner hurriedly walking out of the animal shelter and recognized the black Lab at his side.

Garber told Pollak he was there to get his dog, according to reports.

Pollak told him he would have to leave the animal at the shelter.

Garber should have noted several signs that indicated the animal shelter was closed for business, Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.

Shelter workers posted the hours on the front door, a "closed" sign hung in the front window and the lights were off.

Garber was released on $5,000 bond.

He would have only needed to pay a $17 fee to get his dog back, Pollak said.

People have previously stolen dogs from the animal shelter, she added.

"Usually, it's their own," she said. "This is just a very awkward scenario."

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