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Remaining stolen show dogs found in Victorville [Updated]

Akitas The remaining two of four show dogs stolen from outside a Bellflower motel have been found, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said Thursday.

Secondakita The four show dogs -- two Akitas and two Pembroke Welsh corgis -- vanished Tuesday when someone stole the 2006 Chevrolet Express van they had spent the night in outside a Bellflower Motel 6, authorities said.

Two of the canines were recovered Wednesday afternoon, and the remaining two were found late Wednesday evening, said to Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“The good news is that the dogs are fine,” said Whitmore. “They are in good condition. They have been returned to their rightful owners.”

Whitmore declined to say precisely where the dogs were found, in what neighborhood, and the circumstances surrounding their discovery.

“There is an investigation going on. We don’t want to say,” Whitmore said. “We are following leads.”

The dogs owners, Kristina Rickard and David Peek, could not be reached for comment Thursday. They were reunited with their two Akitas at a county-run animal shelter in Downey on Wednesday afternoon.

[For the record, 12:58 p.m.: A previous version stated incorrectly that the dogs were found in Compton, but Whitmore said later they were found in Victorville. The headline of this post was changed to reflect the new information.

Whitmore said the dogs were found because of all the media coverage.

“Everybody saw and read the coverage," he said. "The people who had the dogs or saw the dogs called us. The victim went out last night and got the dogs. The dogs were in good shape.]

The Akitas -- Trace, a 3-year-old male, and Didi, a 10-month-old female -- were unharmed, authorities said.

But Bunny and Peter, the corgis Rickard and Peek planned to show at area competitions this week on behalf of the dogs' Japanese owners, remained missing until their discovering late Wednesday.

Peek and Rickard, who live in Redding, are in town for the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach this weekend, where they planned to show Trace. The other dogs were expected to compete in other competitions scheduled in the days before the AKC/Eukanuba show, Peek told The Times on Wednesday.

Southern California is one stop on the couple's nearly month-long tour of dog shows. On Monday night, Peek and Rickard checked into the motel. They often stay in motels and park their van right outside their room window. They brought three other dogs -- a Boxer puppy, a Parson Russell terrier and a Brittany -- which stayed with them in the motel room.

But they left the thick-furred Akitas and corgis in the van where it would be cooler. They opened the windows a bit, so the dogs could get fresh air.

Peek and Rickard reported the van stolen at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Peek had said they would offer a reward to anyone who could lead them to the corgis, which are implanted with microchips to identify them.

It was unclear Thursday whether a reward would be given.


Suspect in Ronni Chasen slaying had been under police surveillance

Ronnie Chasen slaying suspect takes own life

-- Ann M. Simmons and Kate Linthicum

Photos: Clockwise from left are Akita Trace, corgi Peter, corgi Bunny and Akita Didi. Credit: Tamara Houser

Comments () | Archives (25)

It was unclear Thursday whether an award would be given.

Award = Reward.

I'm happy they found the poor doggies!

"It was unclear Thursday whether an award would be given."

An "award" or a "reward"?

I am very happy for Ms. Rickard that her dogs were found. She seemed so distraught when I saw her on the news. I do hope, however, she learned her lesson about leaving valuables in a van parked outside a motel. Good luck doggies at the show.

@Dave, @Tom -- thanks! We've updated the post.

Bring the dogs into the Motel! Surprising that a thief was brave enough to break into a car with two akitas. Maybe the door was unlocked?

I am so glad the dogs were all found and are ok. However, it is considered animal endangerment to leave dogs unattended in vehicles no matter what the weather and I am shocked that someone who shows dogs would do this. On the other hand, people show show dogs, as if they are pieces of valuable art perhaps don't think of dogs as living, sentient beings. Spending a month on the road with seven dogs to attend these stupid snooty dog shows sounds like an awful life for the dogs, particularly if they are being left in a van. If the police had seen these dogs locked in the van, the people could have been arrested. How many dogs have to die in the heat, the cold, or be lost when a vehicle is stolen that they are in, before people learn?

What kind of people leave their dogs in a van all night? Motel 6 allows pets. The dogs should have been inside a clean, comfortable room.

the owner should be ashamed leaving them in the car all night.
they are lucky to get the dogs back.

I'm glad the dogs were found in good condition. Even though I do not show my animals, I would NEVER leave them in a vehicle for any length of time, and I only have a run-of-the-mill (but dearly loved) German Shepherd Dog. If the hotel's air conditioning isn't up to the task, or the hotel doesn't take my dog, I don't stay there!

Now the couple knows what this city is about. Thieves and criminal are in no short supply.

MY DOGS aren't worth $ 500,000 and I would NEVER leave then in a locked car ever.

The first story was about the dogs have such heavy fur. It is too hot to be inside a hotel room.. Thats why she left them in the van. the dogs are perfectly fine inside. And enoy the cool air when the hair is cut for show readiness. Pay attention.

At first, I too thought that it would be cruelty to leave dogs in a van while they stay inside.

HOWEVER, think about it like this first. They have an astounding SEVEN dogs with them! No hotel would allow them to keep all the dogs in there, and the problem is that for the dogs that were left in the car, it would be too hot to stay in the room. This could distress the dogs and make them unready for show if in a hot room.

Many people who show do this.

that akita with the complete black face is absolutely gorgeous!

These posts are great! Fantastic partial ending to a ongoing story.
Poor dogs.....the owners should have paid for a room just for the dogs.
Beautiful dogs, I hope they place in their catagories in the Dog Show, good luck!
And please take heed...treat the dogs better!

I am soo happy they were found.
It is not fair for everyone to judge those that leave coated breeds in cars to keep them cool. I love how everyone is irate over the fact the dogs were left with plenty of air, water and safe in a crate, but they don’t care that it was those that STOLE the car who put the dogs in danger. Obviously the caretakers of the dogs were up at 6am ready to check on the dogs and ensure they were comfortable but the criminals who took the van…. What did they do with the poor dogs, I bet they were not walked and parked in the shade and well, taken care of.
Lets say they brought all the dogs into the hotel and then there was a fire, or they went to dinner and their room was broken into. There is always something that can go wrong, when you re-evaluate the situations in life you get all the “what ifs”. I don’t understand why everyone has to think the worst of people. If you don’t like showing dogs, don’t do it, if you do, then do what these people did and just make sure you do your best for the dogs. I am not going to preach that all people who show are perfect, but most everyone I have EVER met in showing dogs for 20+years put their dogs before themselves 100% of the time.

Will the dogs receive any counseling? You know, after this traumatice experience it might be needed.

The dogs should be taken away from their owners for putting them in a car outside a hotel overnight. It's too cold and unsafe.

And any / all people who are showing their dogs and leaving them locked up in any kind of vehicle in the state of California are breaking the California animal endangerment law. Rent a separate hotel room for the dogs with the heavy coats and one of the two handlers/owners of this couple can stay in that room with the air conditioning on to cool those dogs down.

Motel 6 does accept dogs and may charge a very modest fee per dog per room but your dogs will be safe and under your direct care and supervision. I hope the AKC will make frequent announcements at the Eukanuba Dog Show this weekend reminding all the owners/breeders/handlers of their responsibility to the safety of all these dogs.

Reading some of the reader comments here reminds me of why I'm afraid to tie my dog up outside a Starbuck's for even 5 minutes while I order a coffee-to-go. Some animal activist is likely to decide this is "abuse," and to take it upon herself to "rescue" my dog.

These dogs were likely conditioned for traveling since they were puppies, and were quite accustomed to spending the night in their van on a cool night with proper ventilation. In fact, they probably felt more at home sleeping there than in a strange motel room. It's unfortunate that we live in a city where pets are stolen from people's vehicles, but blame the criminals, not the victims.

@ Madeline and the rest of you nay-sayers: you know not of what you speak.
These big vans that dog show people use are specially equipped for the comfort and safety of the dogs. They have heat and A/C and have generators on the roof to run them in the absence of a "hook up" (a place to plug in). The dog's crates are the safest, most comfortable place they can be and furthermore, the dogs are very accustomed to their dog-show routine and (everything short of being stolen) is not out of the ordinary for them. Being housed in their van overnight is nothing like being left in a car or regular passenger van overnight. These "show people's" only crime is not being wealthy enough to afford a hundred thousand dollar motor home.

In addition to being top-winning show dogs, they are beloved friends and traveling companions who enjoy what they do. If they didn't love being show dogs, they wouldn't have gotten as far as the Eukanuba National Championship. Miserable, abused dogs don't light up a show ring with their grace and sparkling personalities and thus don't win. Dogs who love the life - traveling with their people, all that attention lavished on them (grooming, exercising, training, showing) make winners. If a dog doesn't love it, he goes to a nice pet home.

How do I know this? I've been showing dogs since 1972.

"On the other hand, people show show dogs, as if they are pieces of valuable art perhaps don't think of dogs as living, sentient beings. Spending a month on the road with seven dogs to attend these stupid snooty dog shows sounds like an awful life for the dogs, particularly if they are being left in a van."
Posted by: madeline

It is a common misconception that dog shows are 'snooty' and that people attending/showing at them don't care about their dogs as living beings. If these people didn't love their dogs or dogs as a whole species they wouldn't be showing,considering all the time they spend tending to the needs of the dogs. I have to say that these are probably walked,groomed,played with,exercised,etc. more than the average dog owner would. These dogs are clearly content with their lives as show dogs,you can see this in their eyes if you ever attend a show. The handler of these dogs did an honest attempt at good by having the dogs in the van to enjoy the cold,however bad it may have turned out.
I'm so glad that they recovered all the dogs and the van,and I really have a feeling that this handler has learned from her mistake.

How utterly stupid , irresponsible, and negligent to leave those dogs outside and unattended to !!!!! I wouldn't have done that with a mutt, let alone $500,000 worth of show dogs. They might have just as well left a suitcase full of hundred bills in the van. I am sure the dogs in the van were very comfortable, but they should not have been left alone for any reason. I own an Akita, and I was very upset to hear about the theft and so relieved that the dogs were found.
If the owners had any foresight what so ever, they would at the very least have had an alarm (good one) on the van, and an ignition kill switch so the van could not have been started. The owners probably didn't want to pay for another $49. room for their $500,000 worth of show dogs and didn't realize that So. Cal .is not Mayberry USA. It's December, not August, those dogs would have done very well in the motel room, they just didn't want to spend any more money than they had to, shame on them !!!

That $500,000 valuation given on the dogs was beyond absurd, it was out there in delusional land. The fact that the times printed it without fact checking made it even funnier. NO dogs, no matter how many trophies they've "won" are valued at that level. If that was truly the case, they'd be chauffered around in an armored Rolls Royce and not a four year old cargo van.
Nutty dog show people.


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