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Humane Rescue Alliance

After Three Months on the Run, Jake is Safe and Sound with HRA

It was six in the morning when Zita Macinanti, who oversees the Humane Rescue Alliance's Missing Animal Response Team (M.A.R.T.) got the call: Jake had been successfully caught after three months on the run. Jake's journey began in West Virginia, where he and 18 other dogs were removed from a crowded home and transported to HRA as part of a hoarding case. He had been living with little human contact and was very, very scared.

Because of his fearfulness, he was quickly placed into a foster home. He was affectionate to his new foster family, and made great strides, until one August day when he quickly slipped out their door and ran out of sight. The M.A.R.T. team was alerted and flyers were distributed, social media posts were shared, and cameras and feeding stations were set up around the area. "Dogs typically don't travel far from where they go missing," said Macinanti. "So we set up cameras and waited."

At first, our officers and volunteers caught him on camera several times near a humane trap they had set up. Then, after he encountered an off-leash dog, he seemed to disappear.


The trap used to capture Jake.

Three months later, in early November, Nancy Gross reached out to neighbors about a barking dog she'd been hearing for the last few weeks. She had a general description and had only caught a glimpse of the skittish dog, but was beginning to worry as the weather grew colder. A volunteer saw her social media post and decided to message her a photo – just in case. Upon seeing his photo, Nancy knew that her elusive friend was Jake.

She coordinated with the M.A.R.T. team, HRA humane law enforcement officers, and volunteers to set up a feeding station, cameras, and a well-disguised trap on her property. For the next few days, she'd cook bacon and hot dogs, hoping to lure Jake into the trap so he wouldn't spend another night out in the cold.


Jake is caught on camera on the property of Nancy Gross.

At around 3:45 a.m. on November 30, Nancy awoke to Jake's barking once again. Quickly, she got some food and treats and headed down to his station. Then it happened. Her patience had paid off and Jake was in the trap. He was safe. Nancy brought the cold and tired dog inside and called HRA.


Nancy Gross and Jake post-rescue.

Jake’s rescue would not have been possible without the dedicated volunteers of M.A.R.T. They spent countless hours distributing flyers, checking social media, and canvassing neighborhoods trying (and succeeding) to find him. If you’re interested in joining this amazing team, visit our website at humanerescuealliance.org/volunteer.