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Monday, March 1, 2010

"Duncan", Labrador, Northport, AL

Here is the link to Duncan's page on Facebook:

Thanks for your help


(This is the follow up with Linda after the conversation with her brother, Duncan's person.


I wanted to summarize what I talked to Jim and his wife, Kathy, about today, and what we went over.

Since I am unfamiliar with the area, and they are received a lot of calls about possible sightings, we started by reviewing the map and the area. They described one strong sighting of Duncan that same afternoon on the road leading away from the barn and up to Martin Spur Road. That one was pretty obviously Duncan, however, they did not hear about it until a couple of days later by a young woman at the barn. 

I also learned that Duncan had on a type of electronic shock collar that was being used because they were having problems with him suddenly taking off and not coming back. However, the range of the device was only 100 feet. Kathy said she attempted to use it once she found out Duncan was missing. 

There was a possible sighting of him in the area that is at the end of road the barn is on and the other surrounding roads (Watermelon Road and Union Chapel). That was by a man on February 15th. He said he saw a male yellow Lab with an orange collar and a black collar in that large area. However, your brother and Kathy talked to a person on another road off of Watermelon with a dog named Roxie, a female, who is also a yellow Lab and wears an orange collar and a black collar. Your brother thought it was Roxie that the man saw, but the man said he saw a male dog. That one is unclear. 

Without the use of a tracking dog, which is the only way to tell 100% which way the dog went, you can start to guess some things with sightings. If the sightings are unclear, than the rest is an educated guess. In my experience, the lack of sightings, even though Jim and Kathy have done such a thorough job of getting the word out, the highest probability is that Duncan is not in the area where the search is being done. That is very common. Dogs can travel very fast and far, especially a large dog like Duncan, and one that has shown a tendency to want to roam. Second, they both said there are no large predators like mountain lions, bobcats or wild boar in the area, though coyotes are known to be frequent. I told Jim that a single coyote could not take down Duncan, but a pack of them could.

Other than that, without large predators in the area, Duncan could walk through the area. My focus was on the remote and wooded area of the Lake to the  upper right of the barn, or for that matter, any remote and wooded area. If Duncan got into those areas, he could travel and remained undetected for a long time. Also, from what I have seen of remote and wooded areas here in Northern California, which I am sure is not the same as remote and wooded in Alabama, which is very famous for remote and wooded areas, people in those areas live there because "they just want to be left alone." If they found a dog loose, they won't take it to the shelter, and they aren't going to be spreading the word around to their neighbors or telling anybody. Heck, some of those people may not talk to another person for days or weeks! These people probably don't have internet or maybe not even telephones.

I said that if somebody does have Duncan and decide to keep him, they could also let him loose someday, and he could also escape. So, maybe two or three months down the road, Duncan gets loose, now he had no collar and is walking down a remote road. I told them to keep up the search for him and to expand further and further out. I also suggested to recontact vets with an "Still Missing" updated flyer, and I also suggested an automated phone alert such as "" or "".

I said to keep looking for him and don't give up. He could appear several weeks or months down the road. Without the microchip, they need to keep up the search at shelters and I also told them about "" which is a website for private rescue groups and shelters. I said that he may end up at one of them and to send them each a flyer. They can do a search on their zip code to get all the groups in their area. 

Because he does not have any ID or a microchip, the average person on the road will see "stray" or abandoned, especially if he is on the road for a long time and starts to look pretty haggard. This person will probably keep him, especially since he is a familiar breed and friendly. They may also attempt to find a rescue group such as one on t he site. 

They need to keep up the Craigslist ads, the flyers, the shelter checks, the automated phone message services, and the vet visits. In my opinion, unless a body is found, a search for a live dog should be the focus.