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Two of four stolen show dogs found safe and sound

December 1, 2010 |  4:24 pm

Two of the four show dogs that vanished Tuesday when someone stole the van they had spent the night in outside a Bellflower Motel 6 were returned to their owners Wednesday afternoon.

Kristina Rickard and David Peek were reunited with their two Akitas at a county-run animal shelter in Downey. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies found the 2006 Chevrolet Express van and the dogs in Compton on Wednesday, according to Deputy Ron Vande Vegte. Vande Vegte said the van and the dogs were found separately.

The two Akitas, Trace, a 3-year-old male, and Didi, a 10-month-old female, were unharmed, Vande Vegte said. But Bunny and Peter, two Pembroke Welsh corgis whom Rickard and Peek planned to show at area competitions this week on behalf of the dogs' Japanese owners, were still missing.

And so, while Peek deemed Wednesday's reunion "amazing," it was also bittersweet.

"They were jumping all over us," Peek said. "Trace was so excited he knocked Kristina down. It’s a sigh of relief, it's good to know that two of our family members are safe. But at the same time, there’s two more out there."

Peek and Rickard, who live in Redding, Calif., 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 said. Southern California is one stop on the couple's nearly monthlong 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 the Corgis in the van where it would be cooler. And 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 said they will offer a reward to anyone who can lead them to the Corgis. Both dogs have implanted microchips to identify them, Peek said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Vande Vegte at the Lakewood sheriff’s station at (562) 925-0124. They can also call Peek at (530) 917-6846.

-- Kate Linthicum