Scared by fireworks, missing Santa Clara police dog reunited with officer

07/06/2012 12:00 AM

07/05/2012 10:26 PM

While more than a dozen officers furiously searched for him Wednesday night, Ivo the police dog apparently enjoyed a restful evening in the home of a Roseville couple.

The German shepherd, who works with Officer Mike Horn in the Santa Clara Police Department, jumped a fence Wednesday night and disappeared after he got spooked by fireworks while relieving himself in his handler's backyard near Pleasant Grove Boulevard and Fiddyment Road.

Horn and officers from Santa Clara and Roseville scoured the area all night Wednesday and into the wee hours of Thursday, but failed to find Ivo.

"We were very concerned. It's like losing a family member," said patrol Capt. Paul Kofman of the Santa Clara Police Department. "We mobilized for the search, but we didn't have any luck."

Ivo turned out to be one lucky dog. A Roseville woman found him wandering the streets shortly after his disappearance and invited him into her home, where he spent the night relaxing with her and her husband, said Kofman.

"He's social and very good with people, so he spent the night there and did just fine," he said.

The unnamed couple had no idea that he was a canine cop, but figured someone must be missing him.

On Thursday afternoon, they brought Ivo to the Placer Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had been on the lookout for him.

Shortly afterward, Ivo and Horn reunited.

"It was unbridled enthusiasm" on both sides, Kofman said.

The story is a cautionary tale about fireworks and pets, authorities said. The boom and fizzle of Independence Day can spook even the bravest dogs.

July 5 is among the busiest at animal shelters around the country, after frightened animals get lost or injure themselves fleeing for safety.

Ivo has been at the shooting range with his human partner, but fireworks explosions are unfamiliar, Kofman said.

"Ivo made it over a 6-foot fence," Kofman said, "so he was really spooked."


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