NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A bittersweet reunion was had after a dog missing for nearly six years was returned to his original owner.
As CBS 2 previously reported, the dog’s owner, Ben Choi, and the man who found the Pekingese on the street six years ago, Alfred Hayek, had been fighting over who should have ownership of the pooch.
“I’m really happy with this ending. And I’m sure Buddy’s happy too,” Choi said.
But Hayek doesn’t feel the same. “I feel very sad.”
Hayek said he found “Lulo” wandering the streets near his home in Jackson Heights, Queens back in 2008.
Hayek claims he asked around the neighborhood in search of Lulo’s owner but had no luck. During a recent visit to the vet, however, it was revealed that Lulo had a microchip. After scanning the chip, his real owner had been uncovered, CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu reported Wednesday.
But the story did not end there.
As CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported Thursday, when the 14-year-old dog, who Choi had called “Buddy,” was finally identified as his a few weeks ago, he and Hayek agreed to talk.
Hayek said he didn’t want to give the dog back, unless Choi reimbursed him $2,500 for years of expenses.
Choi then hired a pair of private detectives who specialize in animal recovery. They did most of the talking for him and paid Hayek a visit, Rincon reported.
Hayek said they gave him $500, not the $2,500 that he wanted. He told Rincon that he felt pressured. “They tell me they put it in court and the judge will give me prison. But why? I didn’t rob anything,” Hayek said.
Hayek said it never occurred to him to have the dog checked for a microchip, and that he only recently learned what that meant. He said he also hopes maybe he and Choi can work out some sort of visitation so he can see the dog again.
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