by Kim Powell
MIDLAND - A three-year-old, well-trained Border Collie named Bella was at her owner's friend's house back in August when she found a hole in the back of a fence and walked one yard away to a 7-11. In a matter of minutes, she was gone. "My son went up to the 7-11 and the clerk said, 'don't you have a black and white dog?' Because she had seen him up there before," Diane Bles explained. "And he said yes, and she said, 'well she was here for awhile and a couple put her in their car.'"
Police were immediately notified but the surveillance cameras at that 7-11 weren't pointing outside, so Bles took matters into her own hands by posting flyers nearby, on Facebook pages, and on lost dog websites. Still, Bella never showed up.
"I check all the local agencies and of course I scroll through the lost pets, Lost Doggy, posted on a few sites, I re-posted it after 60 days," Bles said. "She was collared, she's chipped, you know, if they had made an attempt, the information was there."
Many pet owners are beginning to microchip their dogs or cats in case they go missing, but that doesn't always mean they're reunited with their owners.
"Because a lot of people don't know that with a microchip you have to actually physically bring them to a veterinary office or to animal control to have it scanned in order for it to be helpful in the process of finding their owners again," Katherine Dixon, a veterinary technician, said. "So I think that there's probably a lot more pets that are missing, lost, or stolen than we actually see come in."
Midland Police say that eight dogs were reported stolen in 2014, but not all missing dogs are reported.
Like many pet owners, Bles is still holding on to hope to bring Bella back home.
"They took our family pet. Not a day's gone by since August 17th that we haven't missed our Border Collie, but hope that she's safe and loved. You know, just wish that people wouldn't do that," Bles said.