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Animal control officials hope to reunite kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard with her 12 pets

September 18, 2009 |  1:40 pm

Garrido home

After kidnap victim Jaycee Lee Dugard was found living with her alleged captors in Antioch, Calif., she was reunited with her family. But she left 12 pets behind in Antioch.

Now, the Contra Costa Times reports, the animals -- five cats, two dogs (a Labrador retriever mix and a Rottweiler mix), three cockatiels, a pigeon and a mouse -- are being held at the Contra Costa County Animal Services shelter in Martinez, pending a reunion with Dugard and the two daughters authorities say were fathered by one of her kidnappers, Phillip Garrido.

The animals have been held at the Martinez shelter since authorities found them while searching the Garridos' property near Antioch on Aug. 27.  From the Contra Costa Times:

"We've had them pretty much since the day of the search," [Lt. Nancy Anderson of the Contra Costa County animal services department] said. "They were ... well taken care of."

Anderson said a person she described as a "liaison" has contacted her office and indicated that Dugard and her daughters have shown interest in reclaiming their pets. She wouldn't say whom the liaison was representing.

The animals reportedly are all in good health, and the animal services department plans to retain them at the shelter until they can either be reunited with Dugard and her children or be relinquished to a foster caregiver designated by the unnamed liaison.  There are no plans to offer them for adoption to the general public, and Anderson said the department hopes to return as many as possible to Dugard's care.

-- Tony Pierce and Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Jaycee Lee Dugard lived in the back yard of the Antioch, Calif.,  home of Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy, who have been arrested in the kidnapping case.  Credit: Monica M. Davey / European Pressphoto Agency

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