Search Parameters Change For Missing Westminster Whippet

NEW YORK, February 27, 2006 –

The search for Vivi, a Westminster award-winning Whippet that escaped from her crate at New York’s JFK Airport on Wednesday, February 15, will continue, says breeder Bo Bengtson, even though security considerations have forced the owners to consider new ways of proceeding.

“The Port Authority has allowed us to go out with them for twelve consecutive days, since Vivi first disappeared, but they have now told us that they can no longer spare the manpower required to accompany us each day,”” Bengtson says. “”Of course nobody is allowed to search JFK unaccompanied; this is one of the most highly restricted areas in the country. But the Port Authority and Delta Airlines have assured us that they will continue to search daily for the dog, and continue to regularly check the humane traps that have been set for her.””

Bengtson and the owners have returned to California to work on long-term plans for finding Vivi. These include new posters, employing a pet detective, relocating to NY to be close to the search, and setting up a special fund to help defray expenses. In the meantime, many volunteers are also continuing their search of the areas outside JFK.

Ch. Bohem C’est La Vie, co-owned by Jil Walton and Paul Lepiane of Ojai, CA, somehow got loose after she had been checked in at Delta Airlines for a return flight home to California from the show. She was seen that day running across the tarmac and going under the fence surrounding the airport. Port Authority personnel, volunteers, animal psychics and search dog teams have been involved in the hunt for Vivi ever since, but there have been no sightings since late in the evening of the first day that she escaped.

The owners believe that she is still at the airport and is hiding in one of the hundreds of buildings (all heated, many unoccupied).

A $5,000 reward is being offered for finding Vivi. Anyone having knowledge of her whereabouts is asked to call the Westminster communications office at 212-213-3212 any time (24 hours).

Vivi, a Best In Show winning dog, had won an Award of Merit in competition at Westminster on February 14.


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