The rescue organization that placed Mack with the Patterson family did some wild things to prevent Mack from reuniting with his family after the dog was roaming free. Jamie Patterson and her seven children took over the boxer-mastiff mix from Rough Road Rescue in Missouri in January 2015 and ran meters and free. In fact, the family was quoted several times by the city because Mack was out.
Once, when he got out, the family didn’t find him as quickly as in the past. The reason was that Steve Svehla of Rough Road Rescue had it and refused to return it, stating that he thought the dog was not well cared for. Part of the problem was that the adoption contract required a fenced-in yard that the Pattersons had at the time of adoption. Since then, however, they had moved to a place with no fenced yard, which Svehla said invalidated their contract and enabled the rescue to “retake” Mack. The family wasn’t even allowed to visit Mack.
The Pattersons hired an attorney whose main argument in the case was that the rescue looked like they had a long leash on Mack and that “they could pull that leash and take him back at any time.” The case went to court and the judge ruled in favor of the Pattersons, saying that Mack was one of them.
Svehla refused to give them their dog back, and when the case was challenged, a second judge ordered Mack to be returned to the family. Then it got even crazier. Svehla showed up at a meeting point where he was supposed to drop off the dog. Instead, he came with a box of ashes and said Mack had died of an infection weeks ago. (Spoiler alert: He did NOT die.) Svehla handed over the ashes, said he apologized for the loss and left. The children, of course, believed that the dog had died and was devastated.