DC woman spends $35K on search for lost dog
WASHINGTON (AP) - A District of Columbia woman has spent more than $35,000 in a year-long search for her beloved missing dog.
Janet Mihalyfi, 39, of Georgetown has hired psychics and private investigators, posted thousands of fliers, installed cameras in the woods and put out dog food at spots where the Rottweiler mix has reportedly been spotted.
Mihalyfi lost 5-year-old Havoc on Nov. 9, 2013, after she took him and her other dog off their leashes during a run in a wooded area. Just then, a deer bolted by and both dogs gave chase.
She hasn't seen Havoc since.
"Anybody that has a pet knows that they are a family member," Mihalyfi told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I love him as I would anybody that I'm close with ... I can't give up on him."
Mihalyfi, an information technology director at a Washington consulting firm, said she has devoted every weekend since Havoc's disappearance to the search, which she called all-consuming, exhausting and depressing.
"It's been a very emotionally taxing year," she said. "It just feels like all these efforts - why am I not getting closer to getting to him?"
But Mihalyfi said her hope of finding Havoc, who has an implanted identifying microchip, is constantly renewed by tips from people who have seen her signs begging for information about his whereabouts.
Mihalyfi estimates that about 30 to 40 percent of the tips have been accurate and said she has plenty of evidence that Havoc is spending his days in two wooded parks in the District that are thousands of square miles large.
Though Mihalyfi has gotten help searching from a group of volunteers sympathetic to her plight, she's also fielded some criticism for the amount of money and time she has spent searching for a dog.
"I know people are in shock by the number but there's also a correlation between how long I go after this," she said. "Lost-dog searches are expensive and this has lasted a year."
She said she can't imagine a better way to spend her money than getting a member of her family back.
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