Show dogs stolen from Bellflower parking lot are found
Four dogs stolen from a Bellflower motel parking lot on Tuesday have all been found, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Thursday. The dogs -- two Akitas and two Pembroke Welsh corgis traveling through Southern California on the dog-show circuit with dog handlers Kristina Rickard and David Peek -- were stolen along with Rickard and Peek's 2006 Chevrolet Express van early Tuesday morning.
The four dogs had slept in crates in the van overnight -- a common practice, according to the handlers, who say the dogs are more comfortable in cold temperatures than they would be in a motel room because of their thick coats. Three other dogs -- a Brittany, a boxer and a Parson Russell terrier -- were kept in the motel room with the handlers overnight.
When the couple awoke in the morning, the van was gone, along with the Akitas -- Trace, a 3-year-old male scheduled to compete in this weekend's AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, and Didi, a 10-month-old female -- and corgis Bunny, a 2-year-old female, and Peter, a 1-year-old male, both of whom belong to clients of Rickard and Peek's in Japan.
On Wednesday, the Akitas were turned into the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter in Downey, where they were reunited with Rickard and Peek. The van was also located Wednesday, but the corgis remained missing. Word spread among members of the dog-show community Thursday morning that the corgis had also been located, and official word from the Sheriff's Department followed. Officials shared few details about the circumstances in which they were found, and they say an investigation is ongoing.
Learn more about the dogs' disappearance at The Times' local news blog, L.A. Now.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos, clockwise from left: Trace the Akita, Peter the corgi and Bunny the corgi. Credit: Tamara Houser