When Nick Gorthius watched his dog run around a corner near his Rutland Road North home on a wintery night last Dec. 27, he never thought his canine companion would simply disappear.
But that’s what happened, as three months later there is still no sign of his 14-year-old Dalmation and English Setter cross, named Snoopy.
Gorthius had been out walking with his dog at about 12:30 a.m. when the dog scooted off.
“After about a half hour Snoopy hadn’t come back which was very unusual for her. So I followed her tracks and they came to an end in front of The Rose Garden,” Gorthius said.
“At that point, there were four snow tire tracks. And there were circular formation foot prints where someone had gotten out of the car.”
Gorthius called the Kelowna RCMP but when they arrived later that day, fresh snow had covered over the tracks.
But it left Gorthius convinced that his dog was stolen, and wondering why.
“I was talking to someone at Timmy Hortons’ a while later and they mentioned to me they had seen someone, actually a couple, stop and pick up my dog but didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “It was late at night and they just thought it was someone picking up their dog on the loose.”
But while being convinced his dog was stolen, trying to find it has proven difficult for Gorthius.
Putting up notices online and at the SPCA and local dog pound has so far not offered any tips about Snoopy.
“The dog pound people told me it was very unusual to see a Dalmation in Kelowna as there are not many around, but nothing’s come up yet,” he said. “It just makes me wonder why anyone would want to steal a dog of that age.”
Gorthius said Snoopy has the typical Dalmation spotted appearance with sold black lines, a scar on her left rear leg about four inches in length, a shortened tail and a tattoo in her ear with the marking 199LFH.
“I’ve had Snoopy since she was a pup, one of 10 pups in a litter. She was the runt of the group. I have lots of memories of her over the years…I just wish I had my dog back,” Gorthius said.
If you have seen Snoopy, call 250-870-6638.
Suzanne Pugh, general manager of the Kelowna SPCA animal shelter, said dog theft in the Central Okanagan relates mainly to dog pedigree, and it doesn’t come to the animal shelter’s attention as a regular occurrence.
Pugh said the best way to combat dog theft is to ensure your dog or cat has a tattoo or micro-chip inserted in its neck.
“If a stolen dog ever comes in for treatment, the vet can check the (tattoo) number against and reported thefts,” she said.
She said dog theft victims should do as Gorthius has done in his situation—report it to the RCMP, put an alert for the tatool number through the SPCA, and put up posters at the animal shelter, dog pound and at area dog parks.
“We also have a new lost and found feature on our website where photos of lost cats or dogs and be posted as well,” Pugh said.