A family in Phoenix, Ariz., is asking a Juneau resident who adopted their missing dog to return it to them.
The dog may be dead, said the family's lawyer, Cynthia Buness. But the family still has hope.
The Shedd family said their 8-month-old poodle mix JoJo slipped its leash while being walked by an animal-hospital employee on Oct. 18 in Phoenix. The family was out of the country.
By the time the family returned on Oct. 25, JoJo had been turned in to a Maricopa County animal shelter and adopted out, apparently by a Juneau woman who was visiting Phoenix and was to drive back to Alaska, said Louise Sumner Shedd.
"This woman did nothing wrong, but I have two kids who are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken," Shedd said by telephone from Phoenix.
She called the Empire seeking publicity for the family's request.
The Shedds said they will pay back the Juneau woman for the adoption fees and for sending the dog to Phoenix. They also offered to send the woman another poodle.
Louise and Steve Shedd have two children, Jesse, 13, and Zachary, 10.
The Shedds acquired JoJo from a group that rescues street animals in Mexico, and they nursed it back to health, Louise said. The dog had a "broken tail" and skin mites and has two sets of upper canines, she said.
"She's just a real funny little character," Louise said.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control told the Shedds it can't reveal the new owner's name. But the Shedds hired an attorney and contacted the county supervisor for their district about their problem. The Board of Supervisors is the legislative body for the county.
Buness, the Shedds' lawyer, has been in touch with county animal-control officials. They told her they called the Juneau woman and left a message with her housekeeper and at the house of a relative in Oregon, whom the Juneau woman was to visit on her way back to Alaska.
Then, on Wednesday, county animal-control officials told Buness that the Juneau woman had left a message with them, saying the dog had jumped out of a car window and died.
"If the dog is still alive," said James Bloom, chief of staff for county supervisor Andy Kunasek, "we hope it would be returned to the family that lost it."
Animal-control officials didn't return a call from the Empire.