Prize-winning show dog lost at airport found

ATLANTA — A prize-winning show dog who vanished at the Atlanta airport has been found.

Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport shared photos on Twitter showing Gale, the American Staffordshire terrier, back with her handler after a search to find her.

The airport also thanked the ops team for their efforts. They spotted her in an airfield thicket Tuesday morning and set up a bait trap.

Channel 2's Audrey Washington brought you this story on Monday.

Gale's handlers told Washington that after the show, they arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on March 23 to fly Gale back to Amsterdam. Gale was checked in and went through security, but according to the owner, the handlers were about to board a plane, when officials told them the dog was missing.

"I know she's scared. We just want her back," her owner, Floris Van Essen, told us.

Van Essen is in Amsterdam and said Gale was in Atlanta with her handlers for the event.

“She had to come out of the box and go through security. She was put back in the box. It was sealed tight and then she went to a secured area," Van Essen said. “It is none of my concern what exactly happened. I just really want my dog back.”


Washington called KLM Airlines in the Netherlands and a spokesperson sent her this statement:

“A dog managed to break out of its cage as it was being loaded into the cargo of flight KL622 from Atlanta to Amsterdam on March 23. The dog's owner had been notified. KLM expresses its sincerest regrets and is actively working with the Atlanta Airport to search for the dog.”

Off-camera, airport officials told Washington they had a wildlife biologist on the property searching for Gale. Their efforts worked when Gale was reunited with her handler on Tuesday afternoon.