Told HIPAA was why dog could not be found

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My husband and I have been supporters of the Roane County Animal Shelter for several years, both donating monetarily and adopting three pets from the facility. 
The last pet we adopted, about a year ago, was a robust and active Lab-mix puppy. 
He is a handful of happiness and love but after a few months we found it difficult to keep him home.
 We live in the county and he loved to roam the woods and follow the other dogs through the yard. 
He would go off but always returned home — until April 19 — when he did not. 
We drove through the area and called the shelter but were unable to locate him.  So we hoped he had taken up with another family who would entertain him and love him. 
Then, on May 10, we received a call from the vet that the shelter had our dog.  He had a rabies tag on his collar and was easily identifiable. 
When we went to pick him up at the Roane County Shelter, we were told that someone had brought him in on April 27! 
The shelter had our dog for two weeks before they called our vet. 
When I asked why they waited so long to call we were told that there were HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy rights for animals.
That’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard! 
I checked on the Internet — as far as I can tell, HIPAA applies only to people.
I am very disappointed in the management at the shelter: 
We spent two weeks worrying about our dog when he could have been home with us. 
Perhaps the Shelter can explain to readers why a rabies tag with a vet’s phone number isn’t  sufficient to identify a missing pet promptly?  
And I hope they can tell us what we should be using for identification so that people who are relying on rabies tags won’t run into the same situation. 
Although I am angry about this, I shall continue to support the Roane County Animal Shelter because it is about the animals who need us and not the ones who run the show.
Anne Coleman