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A custody battle over a Sheltie dog is taking place in Stockton. An elderly couple claims they were out of state when their 8-year-old dog, Tipsy, went missing. When they found her, a Bay Area family had already adopted her.

Sharon Robinson holds up a pedigree certificate of the Sheltie dog she has cared for and loved the past eight years. It’s enough to bring the 71-year-old to tears because her dog, Tipsy, has been adopted by another family.

“They just won’t part with her, and that they love her. Well, I love her, too,” Robinson said.

The Stockton woman said she’s been pleading with the new family through Valley Humane Society of Pleasanton for her Sheltie’s return.

Tipsy went missing on December 6 when Robinson and her 73-year-old husband were in Boston. The next day, the couple flew back into town and began their frantic search.

“We looked every day. I even looked when I was sick, and they thought I was coming with pneumonia again,” she said.

They posted fliers, contacted veterinarians and stopped anyone they could in the neighborhood. She also claimed they scoured the city’s lost-and-found website to no avail. It was a new challenge for the elderly couple.

On January 12, Robinson found out through Valley Humane Society that Tipsy had been adopted by a family who had lost their own Sheltie just weeks ago.

The rescue organization also told FOX40 that they’ve been helping out the city of Stockton’s animal shelter for about a year. They said a staff member came to the Stockton Animal Shelter in December and found Tipsy who was very scared and was not eating. That’s when they decided to help out and foster her.

They said the stray hold remained until December 16 when ownership was transferred from the Stockton Animal Shelter to the Pleasanton organization.

Robinson was 10 days too late, and the new family was already in love with Tipsy.

“I just want… I want her back,” she said.

She’s heartbroken and has even offered the new adoptive family a refund for Tipsy’s adoption fee. They have declined.

“They’ve loved her for a little over two weeks. I’ve loved her for eight and a half years.”

Now, she wishes that she kept Tipsy’s collar on and had her microchipped. She has also learned that it’s best to call and visit the shelter every day and contact rescue groups for missing pets.

She’s hoping Tipsy’s new family will have a change of heart. She hopes to see her dog back home one day.

The Valley Humane Society added that since they’ve helped Stockton’s Animal Services, their kill rate was drastically reduced to 32 percent of animals making out of the shelter alive in 2012 to 82 percent in 2015.

We also reached out to the city of Stockton’s Animal Services. They declined an on-camera interview. The animal services department is now investigating Tipsy’s case to see if the proper protocol was followed.

Robison says she might hire an attorney.