By Maria Clark
A much-loved dog who disappeared on March 29 is now the object of neighborhood-wide search. His many admirers fear he has been kidnapped, and they worry about his health.
Time is essential in Mo’s case. He was recently diagnosed with Kennel cough, which if left untreated can develop into pneumonia. Without proper medical attention Mo will likely die.
Since his disappearance local residents have eagerly accepted flyers and posted them on their stores and car windows to help in the search.
A Pepsi truck driver stapled Mo’s flyer to the back of his truck. Euri Ortiz, the owner of a deli on 146th and Brook Avenue, handed over a security tape to the rescue groups leading the search when she spotted a dog who resembled Mo scratching at her door.
“It’s a crying shame,” said Hector Rivera, 43, as he pasted Mo’s flyer to the front of the pharmacy on Willis Avenue where he works.
“The community has been incredible. People walk up to me simply to say we are still looking,” said Mary, 48, the coordinator for Rescue Ink, an animal rescue group involved in the search.
Mary and her fellow members of Rescue Ink prefer not to use their real names or their last names for safety reasons.
Mo disappeared from a foster home located on 145th street. Linda Vetrano, 60, the president of Posh Pets, another animal rescue group, had saved Mo two weeks earlier when he was dropped off at Animal Care and Control to be euthanized.
Vetrano had him neutered and treated for a growth on his eye and then placed him in foster care while he recovered from the eye surgery. When Mo went missing, Vetrano coordinated rescue efforts with Rescue Ink to expand the search throughout the neighborhood.
The reward for Mo’s safe return has doubled to $1000.
“It would be a pleasure to help a dog like this,” said David Davison, 54, as he took a flyer from Vetrano. “My grandmother used to have one just like this. These dogs are so sweet.”
Donald Donaldson, 15, was walking his poodle when he came across “Angel”, “G” and Joe Panz, all members of Rescue Ink. Donaldson gave them the first lead of the day.
“We were walking over by St. Mary’s Park and we saw a dog just like it. I remember thinking what a cute dog,” he said.
Unfortunately, this was one of two dead leads that afternoon.
Luis Arollo, 53, and his cousin Jose, 51, swore they had seen a small fluffy white dog follow a couple into an apartment building on Willis Avenue and 146th Street.
The trio barged into the building followed by Vetrano and a camerawoman filming Rescue Ink for the National Geographic channel. The group was enough to startle the dog owner, whose dog had a much flatter nose than Mo.
“I’m crazy. I thought it was the dog. It looked just like him,” Jose Arollo said to “Angel.”
“I’m afraid that dog is in the hands of someone that might hurt him,” said Angel, 48, a former detective from the 40th Precinct on 138th Street. Now retired, he devotes his time to rescuing animals.
Small dogs like Mo are a luxury item. They can be kidnapped and sold off for drug money, said Vetrano. White dogs like Mo anger Pit Bulls and are sometimes used as bait to train dogs for fights said “G”.
Hopefully this isn’t the case. “Whoever has him can’t keep him inside forever,” he said.
Anyone with information that may lead to Mo’s safe return, is asked to contact Linda Vetrano at 917-319-4304.