August 1, 2022 at 11:29 p.mUpdated 8 hours ago
Jason Petrini of Shelton was in Europe when he got a panicked call from the pet sitter: Louie, Petrini’s 5-year-old pit bull, had escaped from the Waverly Road home. Petrini immediately cut short his trip.
“Hearing the news that he was gone was devastating,” Petrini told News 12.
Monday marked the 12th day since Louie’s disappearance, despite an extensive search effort that has turned into a movement, uniting thousands of people in Fairfield County and beyond. Stray dog flyers seem to be everywhere in Shelton: telephone poles, mailboxes, businesses, even cars. Petrini set up a table full of posters and flyers at the end of the driveway, which hundreds of people have stopped to pick up.
“I think we’ve printed over 5,000 flyers and lawn signs so far, so the word is traveling,” Petrini said.
This is also thanks to social media. Scroll through Facebook and Louie’s picture pops up a lot in part because of growth Facebook group dedicated to bringing him home. People from Connecticut and even New York and New Jersey have joined the effort.
“It’s really remarkable,” Petrini said.
He told News 12 he bought dozens of surveillance cameras and placed them at nearby water fountains where Louie could stop to drink water. A couple of sightings near the reservoir led Petrini to sleep in the woods for several nights. “Normal Jay wouldn’t go hiking or two feet in the woods,” he joked.
Strangers who have never met Louie have checked their Ring cameras for possible sightings of the dog and shared them online.
“I’ve also heard stories of people stopping what they’re doing to upload posters and middle and high school kids uploading TikTok videos,” Petrini added. “The amount of support he’s given me has been, I mean, life-changing.”
Petrini said it’s also given her hope, as people have shared their own stories of meeting pets weeks or even months later.
He told News 12 that Louie can travel 10 to 15 miles a day, so he could be anywhere in Connecticut right now. Petrini asked that if you see the dog, do not call its name or chase it. Instead, call Petrini’s number listed in the brochure, 203-246-6628. You can get more information by clicking here.
“I just want to bring him home,” said Petrini, who teared up when talking about how much Louie means to him. “The old saying goes, ‘A dog is a man’s best friend.’ But it’s so much more than that.”
There is a $5,000 reward for Louie’s safe return, no questions asked.