By Tracy Bloom & Kimberly Cheng
June 21, 2014
A pet owner who was devastated when her dog went missing for nearly two months after escaping from a Culver City boarding facility got the happy ending she had badly wanted: a reunion with her precious pooch.
Lori Tritel was reunited with her dog “Josie,” a Border Collie mix, about two weeks ago after an exhaustive search that ended up costing her thousands of dollars, she told KTLA on Saturday.
Josie went missing on April 18 after she jumped over a 12-foot-high fence while in the care of Doggie Central.
Tritel, who was at the facility at the time in another room and had watched in horror as her dog jumped the fence, was devastated when Josie escaped.
“She ran toward their back fence. I started screaming,” Tritel tearfully told KTLA after her dog went missing. “We just have a bond. I think people with animals know that bond… and I just want to bring her home.”
Desperate to get her beloved dog back, Josie hired a team to find her. After seven weeks of following tips, handing out fliers and searching for her beloved pet, all of the efforts paid off — Tritel and Josie were finally reunited.
Josie went missing on April 18, 2014, after escaping from the Doggie Central boarding facility in Culver City. (Credit: Lori Tritel)
“I reached out, I held more chicken out for her, and she came right into my chest. It was amazing,” she said, her eyes filling with tears.
Tritel spent about $7,000 of her own money to hire the team of experts and to pay for the cost of supplies that led to Josie being found.
And while she is overjoyed at having Josie back, Tritel — who blames Doggie Central for losing Josie in the first place — said she believed the facility should reimburse her for the expenses related to locating the dog.
“What I want is compensation, I want reimbursement for the cost of the search,” she said. “I think it’s a dog facility’s responsibility to have a fence that cannot be jumped.”
However, Faith Mantooth, the owner of Doggie Central, disagreed that the facility should have to cover the full cost.
Mantooth, who is billed as the “Chief Cuddler” on the company’s website, also contended that the facility had proper precautions in place designed to prevent dogs from escaping.
“She went out the back and scaled a 12-foot fence with barbed wire on the top of it,” Mantooth said.
Mantooth told KTLA in April that no dog had ever gotten over it before Josie did. .
“We’ve never had a dog ever go over that fence, that’s the reason it’s so high and has barbed wire on it. I was in shock,” Mantooth said.
But on Saturday Mantooth said similar situations have happened four times.
“We have been a business 16 years. We have had hundreds of dogs here. To have four dogs get over or out the fence, especially in the beginning years … is to me a perfect track record,” she said.
One of those dogs was killed after running out the facilities front door in 2007 and getting hit by a vehicle.
Mantooth told KTLA on Saturday that she had added additional safeguards to the facility. She also said she has apologized.
Doggie Central has shelled out $2,000 to Tritel, and Mantooth said she did not believe the facility should have to pay her any more than it already had.
KTLA’s Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.