FINDING BENTLEY: Search for Lost Dog Includes Posters, Reward – and a Helicopter

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Bentley the boxer, back at home after a search that would have done the FBI proud. Photo by Sara Hall

Bentley the boxer is back home this week, after he wandered off and sparked a spare-no-expense search involving a search company, a $5,000 reward, the mobilization of a neighborhood and a country club grounds crew – and a helicopter.

It began when Bentley’s owners, Antony Adel and Lauren Kelly, realized the 18-month-old boxer was gone.

Bentley, who has learned how to open doors, went missing after he jumped the side fence and opened the front gate at the couple’s Eastbluff home.

A search party was formed. Calls were made, flyers were posted. The couple put up a $5,000 reward for Bentley’s safe return and contacted authorities.

Adel and Kelly were sick with worry, as Bentley had just had surgery the week before and needed medicine. Between cars and coyotes, and the fact that he needed medicine, Bentley wasn’t safe outside on his own.

Finding the pup “became a bit of an obsession,” Adel said. “So we put out a pet Amber alert.”

Adel contacted, which is similar to an “Amber Alert” emergency broadcast system for lost or stolen pets. The online service calls homes in the area to alert neighbors of a missing pet.

Bentley, who is on a raw food diet, had eaten a bone that punctured his throat, Adel said, and he had a small tube running out of his neck and stitches. So it was very obvious that he needed medical attention, which Adel thinks encouraged people to call in when they spotted him.

The couple kept hearing reports of sightings of him, but he was so scared and so fast, nobody could catch him. He kept going out at night Adel said, so they put out food to try and lure him in, staking out certain spots to try and catch him.

“He somehow outsmarted the traps,” Adel said. “He would get the food and then get away.”

One night, he was seen on a neighbor’s porch so they set out chicken nuggets and then staked out the area. After hours of waiting, they decided he probably wouldn’t be back that night and went home, Adel said.

Just minutes after he and Kelly walked through their door they received a call from the neighbor saying Bentley just snatched up the chicken nuggets and ran off. Bentley, a purebred boxer, had outsmarted the ruse again.

“We tried to outfox him,” Adel said, “but he’s (too) smart and fast.”

They also hire a local team to help hang up posters, Adel said, and he got his office involved. Friends and family came to help as well, Kelly added.

After three days, Bentley was spotted again. Somehow he had gotten across busy Jamboree Road to the Big Canyon Country Club.

Lauren Kelly, center, and friends and family prepare to take a helicopter up and over the Big Canyon Golf Course to search for Bentley. Photo courtesy of Lauren Kelly

Adel rented a helicopter to fly over the expansive golf course. He thought a brown dog on a green golf course wouldn’t be too hard to see from the air, but it was harder than he first imagined.

So they went back up at night with infrared vision, he said.

The groundskeepers at the golf course eventually found Bentley and rounded him up with golf carts.

“They fenced him in around the 9th hole,” Adel said. “They were very aggressive in looking for him and we’re so thankful.”

Returned to Adel and Kelly, Bentley ran toward them and began wagging his tail.

He wasn’t hurt badly, just sore and with slightly cut up paws from running around so much.

As Adel said, he put a lot of mileage on those paws. They put socks on him to help them heal, he added.

In the search for Bentley, many people helped, both Adel and Kelly agreed. Residents in the Bluffs, golf course employees, neighbors from around Newport Beach, and animal control from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

“The number of people that called was amazing,” Adel said. “We’re very, very grateful.”

They’re still getting calls, Kelly added, about people wondering if Bentley made it home. It’s very touching, she said, to have neighbors that care so much.

Something that Adel said he learned from the entire situation is that there needs to be some national register of missing pets or at least some kind of centralized list for all the missing pets in Orange County.

There are 26 shelters in OC, he said, and none of them cross reference with each other so he had to call every single one of them every day.

“There are limited resources (at hand),” he said.

It would be a great business project, he added, and would be incredibly helpful.

These days, Bentley is kept on a tighter leash, figuratively, Adel said. Baby locks have been added to the gates and doors, Kelly said, and other precautions have been taken, including a tag on his collar that has GPS and an app for their phones to track him, just in case he somehow escapes again.

The entire search was quite expensive, Kelly said, but it was all worth it.

“He’s our furry little child,” said Kelly.

“He’s a member of our family,” Adel said. “We had to find him, it’s as simple as that.”


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