Owners never thought their dog would cross busy Whites Canyon Road, but trackers found differently.
Renee and Rick Spears were beside themselves Wednesday morning, staying busy making “Lost Dog” banners to stretch across Canyon Country fences and anxiously awaiting results from search dogs combing the hillsides near their home.
The empty pet bed in the corner of the living room spoke volumes. The toys didn’t belong to children, but a missing canine frightened from her home by illegal fireworks Saturday night.
Over on Nadal Drive, search dog handlers Annalisa Berns and Landa Coldiron hired by the Spears to find Roxy, walked Ellie Mae, a bloodhound with a skill for finding lost four-footed family members. Fellow searcher, a bloodhound named Glory, sat in a nearby SUV recuperating from a wasp sting to his back leg.
“What we did was scent Ellie Mae from bedding and toys belonging to Roxy,” Berns explained. “We found that she went to a nearby park area, ran across a very busy road (Whites Canyon) and onto the canyon’s hiking path. Two of the dogs picked up her scent and tracked it to this area,” she said, indicating the wild hillside across from Canyon High School.
“We would expect a dog frightened from the noise to search out a quiet, secluded area, but this is all open and she could have come down anywhere. We’re focusing on finding exit points.”
Along with shifting the emphasis from the Wildwind Canyon neighborhood to Skyblue/North Oaks area, the searchers were posting oversized fluorescent signs indicating a reward for the safe return of Roxy. The black-and-white boxer, which looks a little like a pit bull mix, was not wearing a collar and tags and has not been microchipped, making it easy for someone to think she was abandoned.
The fireworks that caused Roxy to run was the subject of heated debate elsewhere in the city, including Sand Canyon, where weekend fireworks drove horses from their stalls and dogs from their homes.
It was also a topic at Santa Clarita’s City Council meeting Tuesday night, with residents asking the Council to put more teeth into the ordinance prohibiting fireworks. Currently, deputies can only issue citations to those caught with the contraband fireworks. The proposed changes would impose a $500 fine for a first offense of possession and $1,000 fines for each following offense.
Residents complained that deputies told them if they don’t catch fireworks in the hands of a suspect, they cannot do anything. Councilwoman Laurene Weste wasn’t happy with that answer, asking Sheriff’s Captain Anthony LaBerge to come up with a better solution to the problem for next year’s holiday. Councilwomen Laurie Ender and Marsha McLean agreed with Weste that this year’s problem was worse than last year, especially for animals.
“You have to be persistent to find a lost pet,” Berns said, showing off Glory’s collar embroidered with their phone number. “They could be picked up and transported miles away. The number one thing for pet owners to remember is that dogs have to wear their collar and tags at all times, no matter what. All you need is a gardener, kid or meter reader to leave a gate open and your beloved dog or cat is gone.”
County Animal Care and Control administers a microchip program for area residents, but the women said most of the people they run into don’t know what microchips do.
”They think they’re GPS units,” Berns said. “They don’t know they have to be scanned, or registered and don’t know that information has to be updated. There’s just no substitute for a collar and tags with a phone number.”
Glory’s tags go one step further, with a silver-colored bone tag bearing the inscription “Reward – $$$ – Recompensa.”
“Anyone seeing that will get on the phone right away and not deal with the shelter or trying to find the dog a new home or take it home thinking its abandoned, abused, neglected or a stray dumped off. They will know immediately this dog belongs to someone.”
If you see Roxy, please call the Spears at (661) 904-8161.