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Stolen dog found in Dundalk gets private flight home to NC

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Posted at 3:12 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2022-04-06 21:18:27-04

DUNDALK, Md. — A dog found in Baltimore hundreds of miles from his home made his way back to his family all because the animal rescue community came together.

"They got him home to me and as you see, he has not left my side," said owner Sheila Salazar.

A neighbor found the dog, Nigel, roaming a Dundalk alley on September 1. The next morning, community rescuer Leah Biddinger used her handheld scanner to check him for a microchip and got a match, but the catch... the owner lived in North Carolina.

She got a hold of Salazar who said Nigel was stolen from her Fayetteville neighborhood a few days prior.

"Then it was kind of like what do we do," said Biddinger.

Biddinger knew she had to get Nigel home. He stayed at the grooming and boarding facility Dog E. Stylz in Essex while she reached out to Amelia Air, an organization that usually saves animals from high kill shelters and flies them to rescues who can find them homes.

"They get animals in bad situations back into good situations. They are an amazing organization," said Biddinger.

When they heard this story, they knew they wanted to help. Two Virginia-based pilots volunteered to fly Nigel home and Sunday, he made the trip... first class of course.

"It was good to see him go home. He was happy. He snuggled in my lap the whole flight," said pilot Jordan Mccarthy. "I know I would be devastated if one of my fur babies disappeared so it was definitely a moving thing to help."

Salazar, who just adopted Nigel from a shelter in May, was extremely grateful, especially because it’s not the first dog that’s been stolen from her, but it’s the first happy ending.

"To fight with me and help me get him home, I'm grateful. Like no words can even…" said Salazar.

"Knowing the rescue community was able to come together and make this happen is overwhelming. I’m still in awe of what happened," said Biddinger.

Biddinger is constantly working to reconnect stray dogs with their families and recommends all pet owners make sure their chip information is up to date.

Amelia Air is a Virginia nonprofit with the goal of saving at least 500 animals each year by flying them off death row to rescues who place them with loving forever families.