Volunteers search for missing dogs west of Bozeman
BOZEMAN, Mont. - Volunteer searchers are trying to help a Washington woman find a dog she says escaped a boarding kennel.
Rodhi disappeared Sunday near the Gallatin River.
Wednesday night's search started at the Erwin Bridge Fishing Access off Amsterdam Road at 6:30 p.m.
The fishing access is just about a mile from where Rodhi was last seen, the Tail Waggin' Ranch.
Rodhi's owner told us she boarded her pet with the Tail Waggin' Ranch off Linney Road, but Rodhi escaped.
We met with dog owner Jennifer Jensen, who passed through Belgrade on her way to Yellowstone Sunday afternoon with her 10-month-old pit bull Rodhi.
"She is the light of my life," Jensen said of Rodhi.
Jensen said when she went to pick Rodhi up at the kennel, "It appeared that they were unaware that she was missing."
She spent three days and two nights camped out in search of her dog.
Tail Waggin' Ranch is a boarding facility that keeps dogs in fenced off open spaces. Its owner Wade says Rodhi jumped a fence after Jensen specifically told him Rodhi wouldn't.
Jensen says, "But then I was also told that there were electrical fences. My dog has never jumped a fence."
The Tail Waggin' ranch issued a statement to us that read, "I must take your word on the jumping and escape questions, you know your dog better than us, so please think it through because the risk is yours and your pets. (sic)"
Jensen wasn't the only person to have their pet go missing from the kennel on Sunday.
Mike Wilson, from Belgrade, dropped off two dogs on his way south for vacation that afternoon.
Tuesday afternoon Wilson's son found one of the dogs walking along a nearby road.
Tail Waggin' Ranch says that someone came into the kennel's yard and opened a gate.
"The most frustrating part," said Wilson, "was the fact they didn't even call me when it happened. And apparently it happened just a couple hours after I dropped them off Sunday."
Wilson told NBC Montana the second dog was found early Wednesday morning. "I'm glad my outcome was fine. but I do feel bad for Jennifer for sure," he said.
The issue has sparked a lot of discussion on Facebook.
It's nwanted attention for Tail Waggin' Ranch owners, who told us, "There have been many fabricatedreports, in an effort to get revenge and damage our good name."
Another search is scheduled for Wednesday night for Rodhi and another dog unrelated to the ranch -- a pomeranian named Milk Dud.
Jensen knows she soon has to end her vacation and return home, "Hoping the community of Bozeman will find Rodhi if I don't."
According to Tail Waggin' Ranch's website, all owners who leave pets in their care are required to sign a contract. The contract says if a pet is aggressive or causes an altercation resulting in injury, the pet's owner is financially responsible. It exempts Tail Waggin' Ranch from liability for loss or damage to dogs.
It also states that any claim of negligence must be settled by arbitration, outside of the court system.
Tail Waggin' Ranch claims Jensen violated this part of the contract when she posted her story, including the ranch's name on Craigslist.
The following is the statement Waggin' Tail Ranch released to NBC Montana in full:
"We at Tail Waggin' Ranch have set up several very large runs for dogs with a 4'9" fence, the top wire is electric. We only take non aggressive dogs so it is important to say, if you feel your dog will jump such a fence or will do nothing but stress and think escape thoughts,during it's stay DON'T LEAVE IT HERE..but if your dog is just fun loving and you don't want to put him/her in a prison this is the place for you. I must take your word on the jumping and escape questions, you know your dog better than us, so please think it through because the risk is yours and your pets. It is true "A" dog jumped after I was assured it could not. There have been many fabricated reports , in an effort to get revenge and damage our good name. We have done every thing in are power to help find the dog including providing food and cold drinks for all the kind people that are helping in the search."