Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19618
Classification: Theft
Animal: dog (non pit-bull), dog (pit-bull)
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

County: Contra Costa

Disposition: Open
Case Images: 2 files available

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

Georgia, the pit bull left tied to railroad tracks in Antioch a week ago, has been happily reunited with her owners.

The 2-year-old female canine, who is actually named Star because of the star-shaped patch of white fur on her chest, was claimed from the Antioch Animal Shelter on Tuesday.

Star's owners told officials at the shelter that the pit bull was unchained, along with the family's two other dogs, from the front yard of their Cavallo Road home last week, said Monika Helgemo, the shelter's supervisor. The family found another one of their dogs, a Jack Russell Terrier, shortly after the May 2 incident tied to a stop sign down the street near Wilbur Avenue.

That same afternoon a homeowner contacted Antioch Animal Services saying a black brindle-colored pit bull was chained to a train track behind a Gary Avenue home. The Union Pacific track is seldom used.

It's unclear how long the canine was chained along the track, though animal control officials estimate it was at least a few hours. Her fur was hot to the touch, and she was panting, despite the mild weather that morning, Helgemo said. The dog had become entangled in the rope and chain.

The family recognized Star after seeing media reports about the pit bull tied to the tracks.

"They saw the pictures and totally recognized her," Helgemo said.

The couple identified the dog and were later brought into a room to see how the animal would react, Helgemo said. She and another officer, whom the dog had grown attached to, called her name and tried to entice her with food, but Star was only interested in the couple who came to claim her, Helgemo said.

"We were kind of leery at first, but (Star) reacted to them like you wouldn't believe. She was happy to see her dad and mom. We tried to call her away, but there was no way," Helgemo said. "She went nuts once she saw them. There is no doubt in my mind they were the owners the -- you can tell."

Helgemo said the reunion was an extremely emotional one, the kind she rarely sees. "She (Star) was very happy, and everyone was getting all teary-eyed."

The owners declined to comment Thursday, but they did tell Helgemo they will not tether their animals in their front yard any more.

The family's third dog, a pit bull mix, has not been found.

Through donations, Star is now fully vaccinated, spayed and microchipped so she can be identified if stolen again, Helgemo said. The couple was able to bring their pet home late Wednesday from a local veterinarian following her surgery and a short recovery period.

Helgemo said she was thrilled this case had a happy ending, though she points out many cases don't have such positive outcomes.

"Ironically, we got a call later that day of a pit bull left tied up (at a park) on Mahogany (Way)," she said.

Antioch animal control officials are still looking for the person responsible for tying Star to the railroad tracks.

Helgemo said the dog was not just caught up on the track by her leash but was purposely tied under and over the track with clamps to secure her there.

"She had enough line that she got stuck more walking around, and there was no way for her to get off the track if a train had come," she said.

Anyone with information about how the dog ended up on the track is encouraged to call 925-779-6989.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
Antioch Animal Services


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