Colorado Pet Owners' Worst Fear: Lost Dogs

KRDO digs into how often dogs are disappearing

Dog Gone Part 1

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs is known for its love of animals, but losing a pet can bring panic and heartbreak, and stress takes over when a pet goes missing.

"I don't have any kids but I guess she's like my 'fur-baby,'" dog owner Maurice Nguyen said. 

Wallet Hub named Colorado Springs as the 14th most pet-friendly city in 2017. Even the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau has a web page dedicated to dog-friendly activities in the city. 

But when a pet gets away, it can be distressing. 

"It's like absolute panic," said dog owner Samantha Klotz. "You start scouring the area, asking the neighbors because they're always the best bet." 

"It's almost like losing a child, but she's a dog. But still, it's hard," said Monica Sandoval. 

Sandoval's dog, Zoe, escaped out of her backyard while she went to pick up her kids from school Feb. 1. 

"We looked... neighbors looked ... behind us, everywhere and [we] didn't find her," Sandoval said.

Down the block from Sandoval's Fountain home, Animal Law Enforcement Officer Jordyn Decarlo was called out to pick up a lost dog from a woman who found it.

"Thank you so much for keeping her and trying to get her back home," Decarlo said. "Without you guys we couldn't do this." 

Decarlo scanned the dog for a microchip and found it had one. She then called the microchip company and got an address and phone number for the dog's owner.

It turned out to be Zoe.

"I was like, 'Oh, thank God,'" Sandoval said. 

Zoe is back in Sandoval's arms, but not all animals are as lucky as Zoe to be returned on the same day. 

A total of 8,234 stray dogs and cats went through the Humane Society of The Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) in Colorado Springs last year. That's an average of 22 stray animals a day. 

"One of the biggest challenges that we see in reuniting animals is no identification whatsoever," Decarlo said.

When an animal is brought back to HSPPR, they are legally held for at least five days. 

"During that time, we will try to track down an owner," Gretchen Pressley, HSPPR Community Relations Manager, said. "We'll look through any lost reports that have been submitted." 

Pressley said about 60 percent of dogs were reunited with their owners in 2017, and about 10 percent of cats were reunited with theirs. 

Pressley said that is higher than the national average of about 20 percent of dogs reunited, and 2 percent of cats.

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