A decomposed dog in a suitcase brought by a woman to UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday led authorities to a cat that had been reported stolen May 20 from a pet hospital off Fair Oaks Boulevard.
Gina Knepp, manager of the city's Animal Care Services, said the medical center contacted her agency when the woman showed up to request treatment for her dog.
"It was so decomposed that we could not even identify the breed," Knepp said.
She said the woman told animal control officers that she owned other pets and gave them the keys to her home in south Sacramento.
Officials found Tom, the cat reported stolen from Campus Commons Pet Hospital, and about 20 other animals, including turtles, rabbits, lizards and a dozen hamsters.
A microchip embedded in the cat directed officials to its owner.
Amy Richardson, the manager at the pet hospital, said she has owned Tom for nine years. She said the cat went missing after a stroll outside the animal clinic. Richardson, staff and clients who said Tom was a regular fixture in the front waiting room posted signs and searched for days to no avail.
The woman believed the cat was a stray, according to Knepp. The cat was dehydrated, and the other animals were removed because they needed to be fed, she said.
Knepp plans to file a report with the District Attorney's Office. Her agency transferred the remaining pets to a city shelter with the woman's consent, she said.
Call The Bee's Jeffrey Dastin, (916) 321-1037.