Updated: Hiker Reports Missing Dog

Search and rescue teams looked for and located a hiker who called in and told dispatchers she was lost, before her signal cut off.

Updated, 7/10: Rich Deleon, a member of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team, noted that while attempting to look for the lost hiker, the team found the dog, who was scared and ran into the brush to hide.

The team eventually found a man looking for the dog and found out that it was the dog who was missing and not a hiker.  They were able to help get the dog out of the brush.

He had been missing for several hours at that point, Deleon said, and was badly dehydrated.

Update: Search and rescue teams ended up locating the hiker, but found out it was actually her dog that was lost - dispatchers misunderstood her when she called in, according to Lt. Sachs.  The dog was also successfully located.

Original: A hiker called 9-1-1 and said she was lost somewhere off the trail to Echo Mountain on Monday afternoon, according to Lt. Elizabeth Sachs of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Search and rescue teams have responded to the area and are looking for her, according to Sachs.

The hiker called in around 1:15 p.m. but shortly after connecting with the dispatcher the call cut off.  The hiker has not since called back, Sachs said.

If the search and rescue team members cannot find her, the station will start a rescue operation with a helicopter search, Sachs said.

Travis Bickle July 10, 2012 at 01:10 AM
So this person is using 911 to report a missing dog while hiking in this heat?? She better pay a huge fine for this.
Karen Klages July 10, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Many reasons to always use a leash...courtesy and rattlesnakes are two of them. This woman is an idiot.
Otis July 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Just complete lack of common sense on the hikers part. And how do you get lost on the Echo Mountain trail (yes, I know that eventually it was discovered that it was her dog)? If I was the 911 operator I would have said; "Look south, see that huge expanse of concrete and buildings? That's called Los Angeles. Mamm we advise you walk in that direction!
Ellen Fontana July 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
It seems like every week Search & Rescue is looking for someone somewhere on some trail -- I'd like to know how much is being spent yearly to rescue unprepared hikers? Is there anything that can be done to decrease the potential for these emergencies?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM
@Otis - It appears that the idea that she was lost was just a miscommunication - she was trying to tell operators her dog was lost, but they misheard her or she misspoke.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I just updated the story with some more info from a member of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team. Apparently the dog had already been missing for several hours when the woman called in - with yesterday's heat, it's a little easier to see why she viewed it as an emergency. The team member I spoke with said the dog was in pretty bad shape when they found him.
Otis July 10, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Dan, thanks for the updated information. It sheds more light on the situation. Still, the dog should have been on a leash. Hopefully the owner learned a lesson. My hats off to the folks working search and rescue, these must be frustrating calls to get and respond to. I'm also curious, as are other posters, how much this service costs the tax payers. Almost every day I see that Sheriffs helicopter flying over my house (I live by Eaton Canyon) and all I can think is "here we go again". I have been "lost" hiking in the past, but in very rugged, remote areas (Sierras, Nevada, Mojave mountain ranges, etc.). Always with no cell phone access (many of these events happened when I was younger and cell phones were not even available). But even if I had one that worked I would be very reluctant to call the authorities unless the situation was absolutely life threatning. That would mean a severe injury or many nights spent in the wilderness. I've had a couple of close calls back in the day but luckily was always able to find my way back to safety, even if it meant a night or two in the woods.
Lorraine Pozniak July 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM
This story gets worse and worse. First it was a lost female hiker, then it was her dog who was lost, then there was a man out looking for the dog. Between this story and the one about the hikers who were reported missing but had already left the area shows that there are a lot of irresponsible people out there.
Liz H. July 10, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I agree that there are a lot of irresponsible people out there. But come on, now---aren't we all glad they found the dog? Poor baby! Sounds like he needs a smarter owner.
CitizenK July 11, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Whenever there is a search and rescue (SAR) incident cost to taxpayers almost always comes up. Most people have the misconception that these incidents are hugely expensive. The SAR teams affiliated with the LA County Sheriff's Dept. are comprised of VOLUNTEERS who donate their time, skills and money to support their local community. Want more info? Check out these links for more information. http://www.amrt.org/ ; http://smsr.org/content/view/20/46/ ; http://www.lacosar.org/ The helicopters, pilots and fire department personnel are paid staff and largely represent a fixed cost to the taxpayer, i.e., equipment is purchased and staff is paid whether on a call or not. Some variable costs, such as fuel, certainly exist associated with responding to any call type - not just lost or injured hikers. One can certainly argue the merits of responding on what turned out to be a lost dog, but arguably a lost dog can quickly become a lost or injured hiker who gets lost or hurt looking for their pet.


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