Catalina the puppy was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but she was on TV when the right people were watching. As it turns out, this special victim’s case was caught on camera and now justice — plus, a reunion with her rightful family — shall prevail.
According to the San Diego Tribune, the 9-month-old pup’s extraordinary tale began when she went missing from her Oceanside apartment complex around Thanksgiving. Catalina’s mom, Salina Hurtado, and her husband searched the neighborhood and asked locals to be on the lookout, but they believed the young dog had been taken.
The puppy parents had all but given up hope of ever finding Catalina, until about a week later when a neighbor contacted Hurtado’s husband and said he thought he saw a dog that looked like their own missing pup on the news. The couple Googled the story and found the CBS News 8 clip. Sure enough, they saw a white pit bull with a brown spot that looked exactly like Catalina. The dog had been shot during a police chase and survived.
Hurtado called the news station and was told the animal had been taken to the County of San Diego Animal Services shelter in Carlsbad. So, the hopeful dog mom traveled to the shelter with Catalina’s vet records and pictures of the pup to prove her ownership. Unfortunately, she discovered she’d need to wait at least another week before taking the dog home because the suspect, arrested after the high-speed police chase, claimed he was the owner of the dog. Since Catalina was neither licensed nor microchipped, the county’s animal services department is legally required to give the suspect two weeks to contest Hurtado’s claim of ownership. (Hurtado says she does not know the man.)
“We will be holding the dog through the legally required 14 days, at which time we will allow the family to claim the dog,” Dan DeSousa, director of animal services, told the San Diego Tribune.
As Hurtado and her husband wait, they’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Catalina’s medical care while she’s treated for her gunshot wound, which could run as high as $3,000.
“My [9-month-old] baby Catalina. I’m so happy she’s healing great and hopefully she can come home soon. I’m asking for any donations to help pay for her medical bills etc.,” writes Hurtado. To date, they have raised around $600.
While the unexpected cost is a burden during the holiday season, the family feels that having their puppy home for Christmas is a priceless gift.
To donate towards Catalina’s care, click here.