Sussex increases reward for return of missing Seeing Eye dog

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Sheriff Michael F. Strada and the commissioners of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers organization have announced the contribution of an additional $1,000 for information leading to the safe return of The Seeing Eye of Morristown’s missing 14-month old puppy-in-training, Ondrea.

The Seeing Eye of Morristown previously announced a record-setting $5,000 reward for the safe return of Ondrea, Strada said, “While this may not currently be considered a 'crime,'” we feel that if someone has taken her, this additional reward may aid in her safe return.”

The Sussex Sheriff’s Office has a great relationship with The Seeing Eye of Morristown as two of the office’s working K9s were donated to our office. This brings the total reward to $6,000.

Strada is urging residents to be vigilant in the search for the missing dog but encourages anyone with information to contact The Seeing Eye at 973.525.1084. Tips may be submitted anonymously via the Crime Stoppers hotline at 973.300.CRIME or online anonymous tip form.

"Ondrea," a 14-month-old female German shepherd puppy, missing from Wantage, since the morning of June 24. Ondrea is nearly full-grown and weighs approximately 50 lbs. She is identified with a tattoo in her right ear and a microchip. People with information about Ondrea's whereabouts should call the tip line at 973-525-1084.

"We feel we have exhausted all options in terms of finding her loose in the vicinity and are refocusing our efforts on the possibility that someone may have her and not realize we are looking for her," said Seeing Eye Director of Canine Development Peggy Gibbon. "We hope that increasing the reward for information leading to her safe return will raise the visibility of our search for Ondrea. We will gladly accept her back with no questions asked."

Over the last two weeks, staff and volunteers have searched for Ondrea by posting thousands of fliers across the Sussex County region. A dog tracker attempted to find a trail when she initially went missing, an expert dog trapper has set up feeding stations and cameras with night vision, a robo-call service has been used to alert area residents and businesses, reports have been filed with the local animal services, and regional news media has helped to spread the word. There have been no sightings since the morning of her disappearance.

Seeing Eye puppies live with volunteer families for the first year of their lives, until they are old enough to begin their formal Seeing Eye dog training. Ondrea was living with her volunteer puppy raiser when she pushed through an exterior door with a broken latch.

Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a 501(c)3 non-profit supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

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