For what officials believe is nearly one-third of her life, Kia the puppy was trapped inside a Chevy Suburban as it sat in a city tow lot.
The car had been impounded nearly a month ago, and no one knew she was there — until Monday.
A tow company employee was marking vehicles for auction when the dog jumped up on the dashboard, according to Danny Rotert, spokesman for Kansas City municipal government. Tow lot employees called police, who came out and unlocked the vehicle.
No one knows how Kia survived, but it is believed that she picked through leftover McDonald’s trash, but tow lot employees didn’t see any sign of water.
City officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the case.
Everyone at the tow lot is upset, and no one intended to neglect a dog, Rotert said.
“It’s a pretty miraculous story,” Rotert said, adding that everyone is relieved the dog will go to a foster home.
Veterinarian Billie Deam, who owns and operates the Animal Clinic of Boardwalk Square in Kansas City, North, said that while it’s possible, it’s unlikely for a puppy to survive such an ordeal.
“Without an appreciable amount of water, it’s pretty miraculous for a puppy to survive three weeks in a car,” she said.
The key would be what was in the debris inside the car. There are pups abandoned outside that are able to live on minimal amounts of food and little water, she said.
“Physiologically it’s possible, depending on what she was eating to survive on,” said Deam. “But it’s really stretching the outer limits of what’s possible.”
What is known is that the 1990 Chevy Suburban was towed because it was abandoned April 8 on an eastbound ramp to I-70 from Van Brunt Boulevard and was blocking traffic, Rotert said. Police got the call at 10:08 p.m. and it was towed to the city tow lot at 10:45 p.m. Neither police nor the tow truck driver saw a dog, nor did tow lot employees.
The doors on the car were locked. Typically, when a car arrives at the tow lot with locked doors, employees take pictures of the outside of the vehicle and keep the doors locked. Rotert said they do not try to break into locked cars.
Tow lot employees inventory the contents and take pictures only if a car arrives unlocked.
Rotert suggested the dog might have been scared and hiding out of sight when the car was brought in.
The owner, whom Rotert declined to name, showed up May 1 to inspect the car, but did not have keys to get into it. The owner never mentioned a dog, and it is not known if the owner was driving the vehicle when it was abandoned. The owner still owes $1,100 to retrieve the vehicle.
Once Kia was found Monday, she was brought to the city’s animal shelter, which is operated by Kansas City Pet Project.
“She came in about 2:30 or 3 p.m.,” said Tori Fugate, manager of marketing and development for Kansas City Pet Project. “She was really skinny.”
Although the dog is 12 weeks old, it appeared to be only 8 weeks old.
The terrier-schnauzer mix was emaciated and dehydrated from being trapped in the vehicle.
They named her Kia because they couldn’t think of any names based on the vehicle she was in that were fitting.
Kia ate a little when she arrived at the shelter and she is expected to survive.
Fugate said a foster home will be sought so that Kia can be trained. Because of that, she won’t be available for adoption for up to two weeks.
“Four weeks of her life she was trapped in the car, so she has no formal training,” Fugate said.
In addition to the training, she will get her vaccinations, and will be de-wormed and spayed.