Dog rescuer says Buster’s owner found | AspenTimes.com

Dog rescuer says Buster’s owner found

Donna Gray
Glenwood Springs correspondent

Life may be about to take a turn for the better for Buster the Hurricane Katrina dog. His owner has been located after a massive search of the storm-ravaged neighborhood were the dog was picked up, according to Tara Meixsell.

Meixsell was one of a team of rescuers from this area who helped relocate the dogs.

Buster is among 10 dogs rescued in New Orleans and brought back to the Roaring Fork Valley by Sue Schmidt, a Silt dog trainer. The dogs are being sheltered at Colorado Animal REscue in Glenwood Springs.

The shepherd-mix dog has been the center of controversy since he bit CARE Director Leslie Rockey on Oct. 21 while she was examining him.

Schmidt, a former CARE board member, wants to take possession of Buster. She fears he will be killed because he is not considered adoptable by CARE.

Meixsell said Schmidt recently spoke by phone with Angelo Kingvalsky of New Orleans who was identified by people combing neighborhoods where dogs have been rescued. He told her he and his 81-year-old mother, Lydia Kingvalsky, were evacuated to Dallas in the aftermath of the hurricane and that his mother is Buster’s owner.

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Buster was found with a collar when he was picked up in a New Orleans neighborhood, Meixsell said. When Buster was rescued, his paperwork indicated his name and an address where he was picked up.

But when rescuers returned to the neighborhood to look for the address, “they found the number … didn’t exist,” she said.

“They put posters up in that street,” she said.

Someone searching the neighborhood came upon a man, and she showed him a picture of Buster. The man recognized the dog and said it belonged to a neighbor.

He gave the woman Kingvalsky’s phone number, Meixsell said.

Kingvalsky told Schmidt he and his mother got separated during the evacuation, and he dropped the dog off with a neighbor, expecting to return in a few days.

“He said he very much wants Buster back but needs to wait until they get back in their home,” Meixsell said. “They want him released to Sue Schmidt.”

Kingvalsky has not contacted CARE about Buster, spokeswoman Tracy Yajko said.

“That’s our only concern, [that] the owner has not contacted us,” she said. CARE is listed on petfinders.com as the custodian of the dog, along with its address and phone number. More than 10,000 dogs and cats rescued from the hurricane are listed on the website.

Kingvalsky told Schmidt his mother cannot take the dog back until they are settled back home in New Orleans, which should be sometime in December, Meixsell said.

Yajko said the staff at CARE is very hopeful about reuniting Buster with his owner. They try to work with families to identify their dogs.

“We’re going on whatever they can tell us” about the dog, she said.

To date, the shelter has reunited a number of the hurricane dogs with their owners, including a dog named Abby, who was recognized by her owner in Louisiana on the online listing Thursday, Yajko said.

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