Two weeks ago, a woman from out of the area brought her dog to Mammoth Lakes, left it with a dog walker and Bentley the dog got away. He was sighted in several locations from Antelope Valley Road to the geothermal plant. Thursday, he was found by Mammoth Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles and patiently captured by Mammoth Police Officers.
It was a heart-breaking tale of a reported service dog lost. Many locals in and around Mammoth Lakes tried to find Bentley. Searles said he received two or three calls per day about sightings of the dog and people who wanted to help. Bentley’s owners had camped out and tried all kinds of methods to lure their dog home.
Wednesday, workers at the geothermal plant saw Bentley. Searchers concentrated their efforts there. Lynn Dunlap said one of her customers called her to say Bentley was seen drinking out of the duck ponds at Snowcreek Golf Course. Dunlap said she called Steve Searles. He responded and saw the dog dragging his leash. Searles had seen photos of the dog and knew it was Bentley. Said Searles, “I took off after him.” He pursued the dog through thickets and called Mammoth Police to help. Detective Doug Hornbeck and Sergeant Marc Moscowitz responded.
Bentley’s leash got snagged on a bush. Hornbeck and Moscowitz threw dog cookies at Bentley, who was barking and growling. Then, Searles said, Moscowitz called the owner, Stephanie Diaz, on the phone. The Sergeant held the speaker phone toward the dog. She called to him and talked to him. The dog cued in on the phone and Moscowitz drew closer and closer. He patiently worked toward Bentley, finally feeding him cookies and then petting him.
The strategy worked. They grabbed the leash and led Bentley to the patrol car. He jumped in, and they closed the door. A painful saga came to an end. The officers drove Bentley to the Whitmore Animal Shelter for safekeeping until his people could come up and finally take him home.