Prize-winning show dog found in Atlanta airport after being missing for days

UPDATE March 26 at 3:20 p.m. EDT: Gale, a 22-month-old pure-bred American Staffordshire terrier show dog, has been found.

Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport confirmed the dog was reunited with her owner, Floris Van Essen, in a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon. The airport also thanked the ops team for their efforts.

Original report:

Authorities and airport officials are trying to track down a prize-winning show dog that was lost at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport moments before she was supposed to fly home.

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Gale, a 22-month-old pure-bred American Staffordshire terrier, was in Atlanta with her handlers for an event, WSB reported. The dog was supposed to fly back to Amsterdam after a dog show Saturday.


According to WSB, Gale disappeared before she was boarded onto a KLM plane in Atlanta.

"When they tried to load my dog's cage, it was empty and they couldn't find her," Gale's owner, Floris Van Essen, told the news station.

Van Essen said once the handlers got to the gate, they got a call from the terminal notifying them that Gale was gone. The handlers were asked to board the plane while officials searched for the dog, Van Essen said.

“She’s lost,” he said. “She doesn’t understand, she misses us and she’s all alone in a big airport. It’s a terrible ordeal.”

In a statement, KLM confirmed to WSB that "a dog managed to break out of its cage as it was being loaded into the cargo of flight KL-622 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,” the statement said.

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