Family comes forward to claim lost dog shot in Valley Center pur - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Family comes forward to claim lost dog shot in Valley Center pursuit

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(NEWS 8) - A sweet pup injured in a stolen car pursuit last weekend has gathered quite a bit of attention since making her television debut on News 8. 

Catalina was inside of a van that Kevin Meza, 22, allegedly stole and used to lead deputies on a pursuit through Valley Center last Sunday.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Meza tried to use the van as a weapon against deputies -- he ended up sideswiping one cruiser and crashing head-on into another -- prompting them to fire at him in self-defense. One of the bullets hit poor Catalina in the leg.

RELATED: Dog shot during Valley Center pursuit to make full recovery

The county's collective heart melted when they saw Catalina's sweet eyes, waggy tail and joyful demeanor despite having one of her hind legs wrapped in a cast, and many people, including the pursuit suspect's own mother, called to try and adopt her.

A family from Oceanside has come forward and said that Catalina is actually theirs, claiming she got out of the yard on Thanksgiving. A neighbor had alerted them that Catalina, who is not chipped or properly registered, was on the news.

The Hurtados, who had accepted that their family member was gone forever, went to the north county shelter where Animal Services was holding Catalina with vet records, pictures, and videos to prove she's theirs.

SDSO protocol regarding animals accompanying people taken into custody calls for release to its owner, or in some cases, the animal being put up for adoption, following a mandatory 14-day stay with Animal Services.

Meza is expected to be behind bars when Catalina's 14-day residency at the shelter is up, so though the wait will be tough, the Hurtados will be able to claim Catalina and taker her home next weekend. Had the Hurtados microchipped and properly registered the dog, they would have gotten her back as soon as deputies scanned the chip

“I’ve been in the department for almost 29 years and I’ve never had a scenario quite like this one. It’s very unusual," Animal Servies Lt. Lisa Worrick said.

The unfortunate part is that their four-legged family member racked up a substantial medical bill from the gunshot wound she suffered, so the Hurtados are asking for help from the community.

They've set up a GoFundMe page and are accepting donations.

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