Ridgefield family offers $10,000 reward for return of Doberman
By Susan Tuz
Updated: 03/26/2009 04:16:40 PM EDT
RIDGEFIELD -- When Gayla Longman thinks of her Doberman pinscher, Sadie, feeling abandoned by her family, it brings the Ridgefield resident to tears.
Longman and her husband, Stu, have offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the missing 18-month-old red Doberman.
Sadie has been missing since March 12 . She didn't come for her treat that afternoon at 5:30 p.m. when the other seven dogs did and has not been seen since.
"We didn't think much of it at first," Longman said. "Then when she wasn't home by 8 p.m., my husband and I took flashlights and checked the woods until 1 a.m. It was a very cold night out and we were quite worried about her."
The Longmans live on a 30-acre parcel on West Mountain Road. After another day of searching the woods and fields on their property, they contacted an animal control officer, who told them to put out fliers with Sadie's picture on them.
She was, the officer said, probably within two miles of the house.
Days went by.
The Longmans and their two foreign exchange students searched, but unsuccessfully.
"We started to think that maybe she had broken her leg or been injured in the woods chasing a deer," Longman said. "We were just about wild thinking about her out there. So we called in the bloodhounds."
The Longmans contacted a tracker from Massachusetts who came down with his son and two bloodhounds. The dogs went out in two sessions and both followed a trail to the same spot-- a driveway on neighboring property where a house sat vacant.
"The property has just been sold and the new family hasn't moved in yet," Longman said. "There's been a lot of contractors up there working on the house and the grounds. The tracker said in his 45 years of experience in tracking pets it's been the case that the pet was taken by someone when a trail ends like this."
That's when the Longmans decided to go to the media and offer a $10,000 reward for Sadie's return.
"We thought, if someone took her, they would need to be offered a substantial reward to make returning her made worthwhile," Longman said. "It looks like deserted property up there. Maybe someone thought she was a stray. But she had a collar and tags and a town license on."
Sadie was one of eight rescue dogs the Longmans have adopted. Found in Santa Fe, N.M., by the Longmans' son, Matthew, when she was just a puppy, Sadie lived with the family since Christmas 2007, when Matthew brought her home with him from school.
"She'd been abandoned and was starving when Matthew found her," Longman said. "She never got very big. She's about 55 pounds and slender. It's very painful to think she's feeling abandoned again after she came to trust us as her family to care for her."
Anyone who finds Sadie is asked to call Gayla or Stu Longman at (203) 438-9006.
Contact Susan Tuz
or (203) 731-3352.