Family stymied in hunt for dog

Lost since crash, pet sought by air and ground

By CHRIS KREPICH Press Enterprise Writer

SOUTH CENTRE TWP. - August 25, 2004

A helicopter, airplane and search party have all been used to look for a dog that ran off after a crash on Interstate 80 here last month. The rust-colored vizsla, or Hungarian pointer, got loose from its Allentown-area family Aug. 25 when their Chevrolet Tahoe was totaled between the Lime Ridge and Lightstreet exits.

The cruise control on the vehicle stuck about 5:10 p.m. . Hitting the brakes caused it to spin and hit a ditch and embankment, said driver Tibor Horvath, 53, of Pipersville, about 15 miles south of Allentown.

The two dogs inside were probably thrown from the vehicle; he said. Horvath, his wife, Lora, and a family friend were not hurt in the crash. They managed to recover one dog. But Beka, pronounced Bakeah, took off west down the median, Horvath said. It had a Penn State collar with a leash attached. Horvath said they chased the dog, and a state trooper drove him around to look for it. It was all to no avail.

Allentown-area owner to visit for one last search attempt

The next day, Horvath rented a plane at the Danville airport to look for Beka. But the plane traveled too fast to see much. So Horvath hired a crop-dusting helicopter to search the area, but again could not spot the family pet, he said. Both pilots charged Horvath for only the fuel, he said.

The Animal Resource Center then got word about the missing dog and sent out a search party. About nine people scoured the area last Saturday, but they could not find Beka. Other members searched back roads on their own throughout the week, but there's been no sign of the dog, said Jo Wright, a volunteer for the planned nokill shelter.

Horvath said he plans to visit the area again this weekend for one last attempt at locating his beloved pet.

'I just hope he shows up'

Horvath believes someone may have picked up the dog. Traffic on I-80 was stopped several times that day for Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Bloomsburg, so someone could have easily let the dog into a vehicle, he said. College students were also returning to Bloomsburg University, so it's possible Beka became a house mascot, he said.

"I just hope he shows up," Horvath said. "If not, I hope he's with a good family."

Horvath also placed newspaper ads offering a $500 reward. He figures he's spent $600 to $700 searching for Beka. He knows the dog could be dead, but no body has been found. "I don't want to think about that," he said.
If you see the dog, you can call Horvath at (215) 327-8743.

Dog has chip and tattoo

The collar Beka was wearing did not have identifying tags. But the dog does have an embedded microchip with all the pertinent information, and a license number tattooed on the inside of a rear leg, he said. Some veterinary offices and SPCA shelters can scan the chip or look up the license number to find the owners, he said. But many people may not realize that, said volunteer Wright.

'Everyone has done so much'

Horvath praised local folks for being so helpful and taking the time to look for the 3-year-old dog he's raised since birth. "The community has just been wonderful," he said. "Everyone has done so much. We've been beside ourselves with the positive reaction we've had." Horvath said they were on their way to Michigan to visit his daughter when the crash occurred.

Wright said the Horvaths were obviously devastated by their missing pet and members just wanted to help. While searching for Beka, shelter volunteers learned of another stray dog in the area. They planned to look for it this weekend.