Queens family searching for missing Tiger, a friendly dog rescued from Korea
July 03--A Queens family is refusing to give up hope they will be reunited with the pooch they helped rescue from a brutal fate in South Korea -- only to go missing one week later.
They have circled the streets alongside volunteers in the early morning hours, hired a search dog, scoured the internet and even consulted a psychic in an effort to find the 1-year-old pup they dubbed Tiger, who broke loose from his leash on May 29.
"Tiger loves his walks, and he loves other dogs," said Emily Kotsaftis, 39, who lives with her husband and two children in Jackson Heights. "Whenever we would walk him, he would be on the prowl looking for other dogs. He would get so pumped up and excited."
The search for Tiger will continue through the July Fourth holiday, a time when more dogs go missing because of the noisy festivities.
"This is the busiest time of the year for most shelters across the country," said Katy Hansen of Animal Care Centers of NYC, which runs the city's animal shelters. "Pets get scared by the sound and lights of fireworks and often run away out of fear."
The Kotsaftis family adopted Tiger on May 22 from Korean K-9 Rescue, a nonprofit that helps find homes for mixed-breed dogs destined for meat farms.
The family had been looking at another dog, but Kotsaftis' 8-year-old son William immediately connected with Tiger -- a friendly, unique-looking pooch named for his orange, striped coat.
They took Tiger on frequent walks to continue the training he received after arriving in New York City. But it was after one of those walks that Tiger got loose from his leash close to their home near 34th Avenue and 72nd Street.
A Facebook page "Missing Tiger" outlines their efforts and is open for tips.
"We conducted three to four searches a week for the first few weeks, but when the tracking dogs came twice, the person told us that at Northern Boulevard, the tracking dogs lost Tiger's scent, which implies that Tiger got picked up by someone in a car," said Kotsaftis.
Tiger had also not yet been microchipped, something animal rescuers recommend for all pets. The tiny chip is implanted under an animal's skin with the owner's contact information. It can be scanned by veterinarians, police and animal control staffers.
Hansen said anyone who loses a pet should immediately file a lost pet report on the ACC website. They should also connect with other sites such as FindingRover.com which uses facial recognition to search photos of both lost and found pets.
Kotsaftis has received reports of unconfirmed sightings of Tiger from as far as Queens Center and even Astoria Boulevard. They have offered $1,000 for his return and are urging people to phone in tips to 917-720-4294.