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Rural Charles City dog owner says neighbor took his dog to Humane Society, who then gave it away

This news story was published on May 5, 2016.
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Lynn Berding with his (former) dog, Jack, who was brought to PAWS and then given away

Lynn Berding with his (former) dog, Jack, who was brought to PAWS and then given away

CHARLES CITY – A rural Charles City dog owner is distraught as he claims the PAWS Humane Society in Charles City took in his dog and gave it away to a Minnesota couple.

A male Vizsla dog named “Jack” was taken to the PAWS Humane Society in Charles City on March 25, 2016, where the dog stayed for a number of weeks while the owner – Lynn Berding of rural Floyd county – and others searched for him.

Apparently, a neighbor of Mr. Berding would occasionally pick up Jack and bring him back to Mr. Berding’s rural Floyd county home. Finally, according to associates of Mr. Berding, the neighbor took Jack to PAWS (which apparently follows Charles City ordinances for lost or stray animals). Mr. Berding’s associates claim his neighbor does not live in Charles City or Floyd county. They also say “she did know that was Jack’s home because she would either call Lynn to come get Jack from the kennel she would put him in at her house or drop him off and chat with Lynn.”  They also provided a screenshot photo of a conversation they claim was with a PAWS volunteer in which she “flat out says they knew the dog was not stray.”

According to a statement on their social media site, after Jack was brought in, PAWS gave the dog a new name (“Breyer”), gave the dog shots, and held it for a number of weeks before giving it away to new owners.  These people live in Minnesota, NIT is told.

Now, Mr. Berding wants “Jack” back.  A Facebook page has been set up by Mr. Berding’s family to get answers and bring Jack home.

According to that page: “We never thought that someone would take a dog from out in the country into a city shelter. We didn’t even know PAWS existed until about a week ago. My Dad (Lynn Berding) searched every where around his property, including the neighbors house who took Jack. One night after talking to my Dad on the phone and having him tell me about how down he was my wife and I started doing more research and found PAWS and the adoption post on their FB page. There was no record of Jack on their site, no record of Jack be up for adoption on FB, and they did not put him in the paper like they said they did. My Dad looked at the library all the way back through the middle of March. The only place he may have been listed is Petfinder and even then I doubt that. It seems so stupid and obvious now that we didn’t call the police but that doesn’t mean we didn’t look for him. It doesn’t mean we didn’t care. And it sure as heck doesn’t excuse the fact that they took in Jack knowing he wasn’t a stray.”


Statement from PAWS Humane Society in Charles City on this matter:

A Vizsla entered our shelter on March 25, 2016. He had a collar on with no tags and no microchip indicating who he belonged to. Like normal Paws protocol he was dewormed, started on a flea preventative, and given a name, Breyer.

After 7 days of no phone calls to the shelter or the Charles City Police Department for a missing Vizsla, Breyer officially became a Paws dog and we posted his picture and description on our website and Pet Finder page in hopes of finding him a new family. In this time, he was also vaccinated for rabies, distemper, Bordetella, and microchipped. It was discovered during his veterinary exam that he tested positive for Lyme’s disease. (This could have been prevented with proper vaccinations and preventative) He was also neutered before adoption – the healing process is longer for larger, older dogs, and often times the incision site swells.

3 weeks later a family approached us interested in giving him a forever home (NOTE: apparently in Minnesota). They underwent the interview process and it was a perfect fit for Breyer to get a second chance. During those 3 weeks Breyer was at the shelter, no one was approached about him having a previous home.

Below is an excerpt from the Charles City Code of Ordinances, 55.12 Impounding Animals – Paragraph 2. This code can be found on the City of Charles City website:

A. Notice. Within two business days after impounding an animal, notice shall be given to its owner (if the owner’s name and current address can be reasonably determined form a tag or other devices that is on or part of the animal) by ordinary mail, that the owner’s animal may be reclaimed by payment of the costs associated with care and treatment of the animal as set forth herein. Notice shall be deemed to be received by the owner three business days after the date that the notice is deposited for delivery in the US Mail. If the owner does not reclaim its animal within seven days (1 week) after receiving notice, then the owner shall forfeit all ownership rights to the animal and it may thereupon be placed for adoption with another owner or euthanized, at the discretion of the City or its designated representative.
C. Animals Not Eligible for Reclamation.
3. Dogs which have not been reclaimed within the 7 day notice period described in Paragraph 1(A) of this subsection, except that dogs which have not displayed aggressive conduct and which are eligible for adoption but have not been placed for adoption within the 7 day period, may be released to the owner at the discretion of the City or its designated representative upon payment by the owner of all costs associated with the care and impoundment of the dog.

Since its establishment in 2000 Paws Humane Society has adopted out over 2800 dogs and cats into forever homes. Before the shelter was established, all dogs and cats picked up were held for 7 days and then euthanized. Humane society statistics state that 25% of the dogs that enter local shelters are purebred. The Paws Humane Society currently has over 50 active volunteers who put countless hours caring for the animals, cleaning cages, socializing them, transporting animals for vet care, helping with adoption events, and fundraising for our cause. All of our animals are vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered before adoption unless they are too young in which then the adopter signs a contract.

This is an example of the importance of keeping your dog at home (or unable to run at large), microchipped, wearing ID, and registered with the City if living in city limits.

Alleged conversation with a PAWS volunteer

Alleged conversation with a PAWS volunteer

Vet record for Jack, from Lynn Berding

Vet record for Jack, from Lynn Berding

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37 Responses to Rural Charles City dog owner says neighbor took his dog to Humane Society, who then gave it away

  1. Ryan Berding Reply Report comment

    May 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I just wanted to let everyone who was interested in this story that there have been a lot of changes due to new information. The main idea that Jack was stolen, hidden from public view, and adopted out of state is still true. The difference is we have obtained enough proof that authorities are actively investigating the situation. We have also found the family that has Jack but they have only contacted us anonymously through their attorney. They will not return Jack despite knowing the full story of his “rescue.” A local attorney we were working with advised us to seek counsel in Minnesota, since that is where Jack is. We created a Facebook page to keep all who want to follow – All are welcome.

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Sounds like paws is pretty greedy! Shame on you !

  3. Anonie Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Why don’t you people who have seen the bad conditions at PAWS report them to the State Veterinarian who oversees shelters? Dr. David Schmitt: It sounds as if he also needs to be notified by the Berdings of what is happening in this case.

    Vizslas are a thin dog. The neighbor may have thought he looked hungry because he was naturally thin. And the poster was right about him returning for food because she kept feeding him. DUH. She was certainly interfering with any training the owner was attempting to keep his dog from wandering.

    On the other hand, an owner should never let a dog wander off leash. This business of farm dogs running free is just wrong. Farm dogs get killed by cars, poisoning, traps, and other threats constantly. It takes a dedicated owner to train a dog to stay on the property and an intact dog is that much harder to train.

    Most reputable breeders will not sell to buyers who are going to let dogs run loose, even on a farm. I wonder if Jack’s breeder knew he was going to be at risk for injury or ending up in a shelter. Also, most breeders have a clause in their contracts that state the dog must be returned to them if the buyer cannot keep the dog for any reason. So perhaps, legally, the breeder may have rights to Jack ahead of PAWS, if this goes to court and they rule against Mr. Berding.

    It’s hard to believe that the Berdings had no idea how to look for their dog. What is the first place people call when a person goes missing? Law enforcement and hospitals. If they had just used common sense, either the Sheriff or a veterinary office would have given them the information they needed to find Jack.

  4. Daniel Mead Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I neglected to mention in my previous comment, that the “family” (dog broker) that was coming to get Kane, was from Chicago! How does one get in contact and market the sale of my dog to Chicago and not only ignore the descriptions and calls of the rightful owner, but then refuse to give him back.
    Nothing more than heartless greed!

  5. Daniel Mead Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Paws took had my 2year old purebread German Shorthair pointer. He ran around the block as a ansewed a phone call from the Iowa City hospital. The surgeons requested my presence in Iowa city immediately to make decisions on my dying mother. I had just returned to CC from there. As I was leaving town, I contacted my stepson who looked but did not locate my dog. I called PAWS and the Charles City police department with details of the situation and a detailed description of my dog Kane.
    A week and a half later as family and friends where returning home after my mothers funeral, I wondered why I had heard nothing about Kane. I again called PAWS and described my dog. A part time worker told me yes they had him. I was elated. I told her I would be right there to pick him up. She said, you will need proof. I replied, you will have no doubt, I trained Kane and he has literally been beside me every day since he was 8 weeks old. I also have a hundred pictures of us together. I hung up, I didn’t make it out the front door and the phone rang. It was the top theif at paws. Yes we have your dog, but he is our property now. You can not have him back. I again explained the situation of my dying mother and the funeral. She could not care in the least. She informed me that a family (dog broker/breeder more likely) was on his way to get him as we spoke. I was furious. I hung up and began driving there. I called again. I was threatened with arrest if I came to get my dog. I called the willing accomplices in this dog smuggling ring for profit at Charles City Police Department who told me she had called them twice and if I stepped foot on PAWS property, that I would be arrested. These people at PAWS are not compassionate. They are not caring. They are heartless greedy crooked A-holes. If you lose more than an alley cat or a lovable mutt. If you lose an animal PAWS can make a profit from, don’t expect to see that animal if “PAWS” gets ahold of your friend.
    Did I forget to mention that my dog Kane had a collar and a rabies vaccination tag…..that mysteriously disappeared?

  6. Ali Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 10:27 am

    First of all, everyone should put a rabies tag on your dog’s collar, get a $7.00 name tag from Wal-Mart – you can make them in less than 5 minutes – and microchipping is very reasonable these days. Invest a little in your pets to keep them safe and get them returned to you immediately.

    In this case, see if the people who adopted the dog would be willing to return it to the original owner. If so, the original owner should refund the adopter the adoption fee and any other charges involved (food, mileage, etc.). The original owner should also be charged for all costs that PAWS incurred including medical bills and boarding fees while in PAWS care. (This is going to be a hefty bill to pay.) If the adopters do not want to return the dog, that is their right.

    If your pet is missing, contact law enforcement, check the phone book or internet to see if there are any local rescues in your area and contact them. Contact all area vets and give them a heads up. Post on your Facebook page and any lost pet Facebook pages. Facebook is a wonderful resource to reunite lost pets with their families.

    And finally, Rescues are only required to hold an animal for 7 days before adopting out.

    I don’t know the full story of this particular situation but is sounds like both parties should have done more. But, the original owner should have invested a little bit of $$$ in his animal and gotten him the preventative for Lyme Disease and heartworm, put a rabies and name tag on the collar and a gotten the dog a microchip. It would have been much cheaper in the long run and the dog would have been returned to him is just a few days.

    • Carol Plett Reply Report comment

      May 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Please go to the page created by the owner of Jack. There you will find the details not given by PAWS, including a copy of the vet receipt for his recent vaccinations. Which, by the way, included a Lyme vaccine. How quick people are to cast blame on the owner over a lost dog. Tried of reading ‘the owner did nothing to find the dog’ and ‘too cheap to provide for Lyme preventative’. The dog has lymes. Not the owner’s fault. Dogs in heartworm preventative can still contract heartworm. Don’t be so quick to condescendingly judge the owner. Mistakes were made by both parties. It does not negate that the right thing to do is reunite the dog with his owner.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Paws in CC is absolutley disgusting! I have been there once and it smelled so bad I had to leave. I have been to many other shelters and they keep them quite clean. The owner of PAWS is rude and shouldnt be running it. This story is so sad! Shame on you PAWS!

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I understand policy and procedure but whatever happened to just being good people. I see the mistakes made on both parts regarding Jack. However, everyone involved can work together to fix this problem. This situation does not have to be news, there are more pressing issues we should concern ourselves with. For example molestation, sexuall assault the list goes on. Although, I have empathy for the situation, shine a light on issues that affect our children.

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 2:52 am

    I used to live in cc, don’t anymore thank God. I’ve been in paws before. Its absolutely horrifying how those animals are treated. Soon as you walk in it reeks of urine and feces. We visited the dog kennels, the cages were disgusting, their area was covered in shit. They had no food, the ones that did had mold on it. Only sum had water, which was dirty. I felt so bad. We visited the cats, their litter box was overflowing with poop. So they started going anywhere they could. None of them looked healthy. Than I see paws adopting animals out slandering the owners, claiming they abused them or wouldn’t take care of them. I seen they were adopting out a dog, was supposed stray, yet they said it had been caged up all the time and never potty trained? Maybe the owners left it outside when they went to work? Maybe it was an outside dog? How would they have all this info about it if it was a stray??? Sounds like spy on animals and their owners. Also its suppose to be a non-kill shelter? Then why do they take certain animals they can’t sell or other reasons and sell them to ISU for laboratory animal testing?? Smfh

  10. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 6, 2016 at 2:35 am

    PAWS is nothing but a sham. Every time they get an animal in, they claim there’s no collar, tags or chip. The police department and them work hand in hand. I have known people whose dogs have gotten out of the yard, or kennel. They report it to the police and tell them all the information. They tell they will contact PAWS yet you never hear anything back. Unless you call them, or go in person then they say “oh you mean that dog?”, playing dumb. Its pretty easy to remove a collar and tags, then basically resell the animal to the public. A resident here had a dog go missing awhile back, devastated someone stole the dog or got hurt, she notified the police and paws. Who both denied ever getting a call describing the animal that went missing. Not even a week later the dog was on their Facebook, and then they were claiming it wasn’t taken care of and that it was found near a busy road, and that the owner hadn’t bothered to contact them. So they messaged and commented on the photo, and paws just lied and denied. Long story short the dog was adopted out before they could reclaim it, and paws blocked them completely. The dog was utd on shots, chipped and had tags. Bit mysteriously vanished upon entering the shelter

  11. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I’ve been following this story and trying to filter out the hearsay and follow what is being posted by the people that are directly involved. To me, those directly involved would be Lynn, neighbor, and PAWS. Why a person would let a rare and expensive breed freely roam around, unaltered and not microchipped shocks me. I wouldn’t wait a month or until my dad “was down” to do the research.

  12. Nancy Glick Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I read the story and the comments and since no one else brought it up, I will. The woman who turned in Jack said she fed him every time he came to her house. That’s WHY he kept going back. She also said she dropped him off in front of his home after feeding him so she knew he had an owner and where he lived. If she didn’t want him to keep coming back she should not have fed him.

    According to what I read, she told PAWS all of those things when she took the dog in to them, so THEY knew he had an owner. She said she fed him because he was “starving” yet nowhere in PAWS version does it say the dog was emaciated. Ever seen a dog go after table scraps? If she was feeding him leftovers, he probably did scarf them down, but that doesn’t mean he was starving. Both PAWS and the woman who turned him in are guilty of theft if all of the above is factual. They need to get the dog back and return him to his owner and I don’t believe they should be repaid for any vaccinations or anything else they did because they appear to have known he had an owner and chose to ignore it.

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Cite the owner for dog at large, and the owner should civilly sue the person that maliciously turned the dog over as an unknown stray.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Dogs are considered personal property. The person who brought Jack to PAWS should be charged with theft. Also, while an owner can surrender a dog at a shelter, the neighbor was not the owner. Is the adoptive family aware of what happened?

  14. Arlene Dykstra Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    PAWS is attempting to censor the voice of the public as it has deleted the many comments on its page, and the review page as well.

    PAWS acted illegally in taking this dog in as a stray when they were given the information that he likely had a home. They have a chance to do the right thing.

    They need to do that now.

  15. Laurie Bailey Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    The screen shots tell me the PAWS group took Jack in knowing he had a home, just one they might not approve of.

    They facilitated the theft of this dog.

    Their actions are very unfortunate and sully the good work of other rescues by association. They need to right the wrong that they did.

    • Animal Advocate Reply Report comment

      May 6, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Where does it say in the messages that paws was aware he had a home? It says that the neighbor assumed he was abandoned, as did PAWS so they took him in as a stray. Never does it say that that PAWS was aware he had a home.

  16. Bonny Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I hope the dog gets returned to its rightful owner! Hes a country dog not city,hopefully he isnt living in one,he’ll be confused for sure with all that traffic around.shame on the neighbors!

  17. melissa lee Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Ridiculous. If I were the rightful owners, I would be suing, contacting the attorney general and every news source I could.

  18. Barb Carlson Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Funny how people are so upset about Paws deleting posts and trying to keep a professional facebook page. If these people were so concerned they would not focus on social media to bash an organization. Most of these people are from out of state, do not know the people involved at the shelter, nor the family who owned the dog previously. If you would have read the Paws post first, which would you have believed? Instead more and more animals sit in shelters all over the country because of ignorant people who read facebook posts and assume everything that the person said is true. Get a damn clue.

    • Melissa Berding Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      PAWS post doesn’t excuse the facts and what they did was illegal they can post codes all they want and that might be true for someone IN city limits it does not work for OUTSIDE city limits which is what happened in this case. Know the facts and try to see through all of the LIES they are feeding everyone that supports them. It’s blatantly clear that they did wrong an I don’t care how many animals they have say they helped. How many of those were stolen? I know of at least 3 others besides Jack it’s sad and goes against EVERYTHING a humane society should be doing, their job is to help homeless and unwanted pets that is not the case with Jack he was neither of those.

    • Lisa B. Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Almost everyone are sheep from out of state just rallying to a bogus cause. It’s ridiculous.

  19. Carol Plett Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Sad to see that PAWS Humane Society has chosen to delete negative comments from their page, block anyone who questioned what they did, removed the Visitor Posts section from their page, then removed the review section from the page. What are they hiding? The voice of the public who asks them to reunite Jack with his owner will not be silenced. PAWS has a chance to do the right thing and initiate a reunion. They need to act now.

  20. Amanda Hook Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I commented on the PAWS facebook page and my comments were removed. Why is PAWS censoring their page. TRANSPARENCY!

  21. Animal worker Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I’ve worked with shelters before and its pretty common practice to put a designated hold on “stray animals” This gives the owner time to find and reclaim there pet. Unfortunately many people are uneducated in their local shelters and what to do if a pet goes missing. Sadly I have also seen people pick up “stray dogs” claiming it was mistreated and really they are just tired of the neighboring farm dog wandering onto their property. Either way the shelter followed protocol of holding the dog and following with vet work. Its sad for the owners but what option did paws have? I hope shelters in general don’t get a bad rap for this. But it does show the importance of having appropriate tags on your pets or better yet microchipping. Any vet office and many humane societies offer it at a low fee.

    • Animal Advocate Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      I completely agree! Maybe the neighbor should be in question here. Has anyone considered that she might have told Paws the dog was a stray that was dumped on her property which happens a lot in rural areas? Why else would Paws have a dog for 3 weeks if they knew he had a home? In regards to Kaitlyn’s messages. She is 17 years old and in high school, some kid just looking to stir up trouble. She said the hold was 14 days, clearly she doesn’t know Paws procedures, why would she know anything else. The main goal for shelters is getting them into loving homes and out of the shelter lifestyle. This also means releasing dogs to past owners when they come forward. Paws did nothing but follow city code and ordinances, this is why even if you live on large property out of town you should always have your pet chipped and registered even if it isn’t required.

      • Melissa Berding Reply Report comment

        May 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        It is illegal for them to take an animal that is not within the city limits. Why is that so hard for those who support what paws did to understand? It is not illegal for a dog to run around in the country whether you think it’s right or not. Furthermore the Paws group took Jack in knowing full well he had a home and let this woman who does not live in Charles City or even in that county drop him off. They never once tried to contact anyone at the home this woman says she thought was where Jack lived. They should have gone there or sent a letter they did nothing. Please read the entire article before coming to the conclusion that this group handled things the way they should have. I don’t care how old this volunteer was she she knew what was going on. A shelter should be trying to reunite animals with their families. Not take in a dog with a collar from someone outside of their city or county and list them as a “stray” They are just as much in the wrong as the lady who took him there, maybe even more since they say they told her no more then once because they knew they weren’t supposed to.

        • Lisa B. Reply Report comment

          May 5, 2016 at 8:33 pm

          “It is illegal for them to take an animal that is not within the city limits.”

          No, it isn’t. Your understanding and interpretation of the law is not the least bit impressive. The County Attorney disagrees with your uneducated stances on law. ANY humane society can accept ANY surrender. The animal was surrendered.

          Get a clue.

          • Anonymous

            May 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

            But you can’t surrender something you don’t own. Sounds like PAWS accepted stolen property.

  22. Ryan Berding Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you very sharing this story. I know some folks like Dave will automatically assume we abused the animal because that’s what the shelter says but I urge him to visit our page. Look at photos of Jack. And get a full understanding of the situation. Also he can read the numerous other stories regarding PAWS and their “rescues.”

    • Joni Martin Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      I’m so tired of posting this same response, but the owner didn’t “fail” to look for his pet! They live 10 miles away and never dreamed someone TOOK him. The neighbor doesn’t even live in Floyd county! Therefore PAWS should have NEVER accepted the dog from them! Thank you North Iowa Today, for covering this crime! I hope Jack can be returned to his family!

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Trying to find the FB page “Bring Jack Home” but can’t find it. Is it still up?

  23. Dave Jones Reply Report comment

    May 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Funny how the owner not once attempted to contact anyone about this “beloved family pet”. For almost a full month the animal sat in a cage without so much as a single call to the police department to report it lost/stolen. No one was notified the animal was missing. The family didn’t make a single call to animal control to see if their dog had been seen, found, or captured. They made no calls to any pet rescue facilities in the area.

    They did nothing.

    I guess they just hoped the animal was “off wandering” and that somehow, magically, it would show back up at the doorstep. I, for one, am quite glad the neglected animal was adopted by a loving family. A family that would care if it went missing. A family that wouldn’t leave it sitting in on a concrete floor in a cage without anyone coming to look for it.

    You really have to question how much this former family really cared for a dog that had a disease and that didn’t make ANY efforts to locate the dog when it turned up missing.

    • Melissa Berding Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      It would appear Dave did not read the article his questions would have been answered it’s all in there. Also there would have been no need for anyone to search for Jack had he not been stolen and had PAWS not have illegally taken him in. Jack was up to date on all vaccinations including the vaccine you seem to think he acquired from being neglected or unca red for. PAWS has done everything they can to try and justify what they did. They knowingly took in a stolen dog. They have deleted every comment they didn’t like from their facebook page and have blocked every person that left any negative feedback. They have deleted anything to do with Jack other then their own post where they are trying to make people like Dave think that they did what was right. They are trying to make it go away and it’s not going to. Not until Jack comes home.

    • Carol Plett Reply Report comment

      May 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      With what authority do you state that the owner ‘not once attempted to contact anyone’ and ‘didn’t make ANY efforts to locate the dog’?