By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley) – When Apple Valley Animal Services called Yuleni Olea to tell her someone had turned in her bull terrier, the Apple Valley resident was a little confused. She knew for a fact her dog, Luna, was safely at home where she had left her just moments before.
After asking a few questions, Olea was shocked to realize that the dog that had been turned in was Blanca, the family pet that had been stolen nearly three years prior from a family member’s yard in Wilmington, California.
“I was visiting my mom in Wilmington for the weekend and she was stolen from the yard” Olea said, explaining that she had canvassed the neighborhood, looked at the local animal shelter and filed a police report in Wilmington with no positive results. The family was heartbroken.
A military family, the Olea’s had returned from being stationed in Germany less than a month prior when the dog disappeared. They had not yet registered the information for her microchip. The family thought their pet was gone forever.
On Thursday, January 8, Blanca was turned in as a stray found wandering near Highway 18 at Joshua Road. As is the standard procedure, the terrier was scanned for a microchip immediately.
“Many pet owners don’t realize how important microchipping their pets and keeping the information up to date can be,” said Cassandra Stallard, Animal Services Technician.
Finding that the microchip was not registered, Stallard contacted the microchip company to see if they had a way to track down any previous owner. Through the persistence of Animal Services staff and the cooperation of the microchip company, Stallard contacted the veterinarian’s office from which the chip was sold. They were able to provide Olea’s name.
“Even though all of the information was out of date, the family had licensed another pet here. Fortunately, they don’t have a common name, so I was able to identify them as Blanca’s owners,” said Stallard.
Olea said she was shocked to get the call. She came into the shelter that day to verify it was, in fact, her long lost pet. Clutching a file containing documentation that included Blanca’s licensing in Germany, Olea, and three of her four children, returned on Friday to take Blanca home.
“Even though the family had not gotten a chance to update the registration information, Friday’s reunion would not have been possible if the family had not microchipped their pet at all,” said Gina Schwin-Whiteside, Animal Services Manager. “We encourage all pet owners to take this precaution so we can have more happy endings like this.”
Apple Valley Animal Services offers microchip services for $20 that includes registering the information with the company. The shelter is located at 22131 Powhatan Road between Quinnault and Nomwaket roads. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.AVAnimals.org or call (760) 240-7000 x7555 for more information.