Dog returns 6 months after vanishing from Yamhill Co. home, owners suspect foul play

KATU photo

YAMHILL COUNTY, Ore. – Six months after a Great Pyrenees dog vanished from a Yamhill County winery, she has been reunited with her owners who now suspect she was stolen and bred.

Denise and Scott Flora own Native Flora winery in the Dundee Hills. Their two-and-a-half-year-old Great Pyrenees, Stella, helps guard the perimeter and keep their flock of sheep safe from predators. In May, Stella vanished.

“When I came back she didn't greet me,” said Denise, remembering when Stella disappeared.

“We were pretty certain that someone had come on property at taken her,” said Scott.

On Friday, the Floras says they got an early Christmas present in the form of an unexpected phone call from the Carlton Veterinary Hospital which is eight miles away. They found Stella.

“They said, ‘Hi we've got your dog Stella.’ And I was dumbfounded. I said, ’Tell me again what you just said.’ She said, ‘We have your dog Stella here,’” recalled Scott.

Amy Caruso-Picker, one of the veterinarians at the hospital, said someone found Stella wandering near Carlton and brought her to the hospital. Caruso-Picker says they checked for a microchip which helped them identify the dog as Stella.

Scott says his dog immediately recognized him when he went to pick her up, but he did not immediately recognize Stella.

“She was almost not recognizable, even to us. Had she not greeted me the way she greeted me, I would not have physically recognized her,” he said.

The veterinarian Stella was flea infested, covered in sores, and was underweight. She also said Stella recently gave birth to a litter of puppies and had nursed those puppies.

Now that Stella is home and will likely be okay, but the Floras suspect her disappearance was not an accident.

“Basically someone stole her, bred her, sold the puppies, dumped her,” said Scott.

When asked why he thought that, he said, “Money. You have a good litter of Pyrenees, that's three, four, five thousand dollars depending on how many pups you got. Strictly monetary gain.”

Scott also says Stella had never run away before; they have an eight-foot fence around their entire winery. He said she was wearing a collar with their contact information, but someone found Stella wearing a different collar.

The vet and Yamhill County Deputies say there is no way to prove that at this point. The Floras filed a report when their dog disappeared, but still haven’t told deputies about Stella’s return.

The Floras hope this is also a lesson to other dog owners about micro-chipping your pet. They say Stella may not be back home if not for the chip.

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