A little detective work reunites dog, owner

Mr. Bigglesworth spent a little time at the Treasure Island Police Department as officers searched for his owner.

STEPHANIE GARRY | Times\uFEFF

Mr. Bigglesworth spent a little time at the Treasure Island Police Department as officers searched for his owner.

TREASURE ISLAND — A lost chihuahua walked into a bar.

The manager wasn't surprised.

"Good food, good atmosphere, come on! It's a rocking place on the beach!" said Jerry Stark.

Stark saw a little dog making his way through the parking lot of Caddy's on the Beach in the middle of the dinner rush Thursday evening. He was wearing a leather Coach collar on the smallest notch. But he didn't appear to have a guardian.

Stark and Caddy's servers sat him at the end of the bar, fed him a bit of hamburger and gave him some water to drink. (No ID, Stark said.) He seemed old, with bluish eyes suggesting cataracts and gray around his mouth and spotting his tail.

Stark liked the dog. He named him "Peppy." But they couldn't have him hanging around forever. So Stark called Treasure Island police, who sent two squad cars to pick him up.

Down at the station, Treasure Island's police officers were finding the case of the lost chihuahua a hard one to crack. They have a pet matching program, where residents volunteer to send in pictures of their dogs and cats by what area of the city they live in, said Sgt. J. Swetnich. No match.

Then they scanned the dog's microchip. Dispatcher Lori Setzer called three companies that store information about pets' owners and came up with a clue on the last one. He came from the Putnam County Humane Society in Hollister. But their office was closed.

As Setzer scrolled through the list of missing pets on Sunset Beach, the dog with a red fire-hydrant tag but no name made friends with the folks at the police station. He went out for little walks along Boca Ciega Bay with Officer Hector Diaz, who gave him the lift from Caddy's. He gladly accepted treats.

On Friday morning, police located the lost chihuahua's owner. Jennifer Sapp, 36, picked him up about 9 a.m. from the Treasure Island police station.

Turns out this is the latest of several escapes this week from his fenced-in back yard. Mr. Bigglesworth, a hairless chihuahua named after the hairless cat of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies, is about 10 years old, Sapp said. She rescued him from a shelter in October 2007.

A little detective work reunites dog, owner 09/20/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 20, 2008 10:27pm]

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