LAS CRUCES – Jingo, an 8-month-old Jindo-terrier mix, was en route from Los Angeles to Brownsville, Texas last week to be with his new owner, but escaped from a transport vehicle near the fairgrounds from southern New Mexico and has been missing for over a week.
Monika Cirsch of Los Angeles said Jingo was a rescue from Korea. She was flown to Los Angeles International Airport and later picked up by Blue Collar Pet Transport, who was to drive the dog to Texas where Cirsch’s boyfriend is for work. Jingo has been with his new owners for about a month.
Cirsch described Jingo as temperamental and a runner. She said she contacted Blue Collar – an Orlando-based international pet transport company – and let them know her dog was a possible theft risk, but was reassured that handlers would be able to manage.
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Jingo was picked up for transport on Monday, October 4. On the first day, Blue Collar sent photos of the dog in its crate, at the hotel, and bringing its meals to the owners. But the next evening, the manager called Cirsch to inform him that Jingo had bitten him as he attempted to get her out of the till at a Love’s Travel stop off of Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces. Jingo then fled into the desert surrounding the truck stop.
“We were mortified because I felt their protocol was to secure the animal before having access to an outside area,” Cirsch said. “I imagined him in the van with the door closed, taking the dogs out of the crate or each dog at a time out of the crate.”
The manager didn’t contact her until the next morning, Cirsch said. Throughout the night, she received pings on her phone from the Apple AirTag she has on the dog. The next afternoon she said she was told the driver was going to leave Las Cruces to continue on his way.
But Cirsch does not have any contact in Las Cruces. She said she had started contacting businesses in the area and posted on the Facebook community pages looking for help.
“The rallying from the community was just amazing. I have received calls for dog rescues, I have received calls from people wanting to help, messages on Facebook, ”she said. “I burst into tears because I was so excited that at first I was alone in LA, feeling so helpless, and then it was like all these people were ready to help.”
Cherished K-9 All Breed Rescue took the lead in the search. Carla Baker, executive director of the rescue, said she saw Cirsch’s Facebook post and offered to help. Cirsch arrived Friday evening and stayed until Wednesday to help with the search. Her boyfriend also traveled from Texas to help search.
Jingo has been spotted multiple times and pings are being sent from her Apple AirTag, but no one has been able to approach her. The rescue set several traps in the area in hopes that Jingo would get caught in just one.
“Tons” of people have come to the area to help with the search, Baker said. While help is appreciated, the public is now urged to stay out of the area so Jingo doesn’t get scared.
“We haven’t seen her for a few days because there are too many people looking for her,” Baker said. “We just need more people to have patience and back off and I know people think they’re helping but they’re not helping if they scare her away.”
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Cameras are installed and traps are checked several times a day, Baker added. When she is caught, Cirsch said she would pick up and carry Jingo herself.
She cautioned others against pet transport services, especially because she trusted them with her dog and they were of little or no help in finding this stage, according to Cirsch.
“They literally had a job – taking the dog from point A to point B, which they do all the time. And I thought they had trained people to handle it, ”she said. “It’s easy for them to say ‘OK, sorry we lost your pet’, and they get on with their day.”
Blue Collar Pet Transport did not respond to inquiries from Sun-News before the publication of this article.