A dog who gained fame for living with a pack of coyotes in the Nevada desert is finally home following a bitter custody battle between a Las Vegas family and the women who rescued him from the wild.
According to the Animal Foundation, hades, the 4-year-old bull terrier mix, is back with the Cabada family of Las Vegas. This nonprofit shelter has cared for the pup since a dispute over him led to police involvement.
The organization looked at photos, videos, and documentation showing the family had been looking for Hades after he went missing, said Kelsey Pizzi, a spokeswoman for the Animal Foundation.
“There was plenty of evidence this was their dog,” Pizzi said.
In an emotional video capturing the dog’s reunion with the Cabada family on Monday, Hades runs up to them, wagging his tail. He repeatedly jumps on them as a boy and girl cry and hug him.
“It was a very emotional reunion,” Pizzi told on Tuesday. “As soon as he saw his family, he ran right over to them … He just kept jumping into everyone’s arms.”
Despite the latest development, the women who rescued Hades from the desert say they’ll continue to fight for custody.
In a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday, the women assert that the dog is not Hades, but Ghost, a name the dog picked up from residents in the Henderson area who tried approaching him when he lived with coyotes.
“We’re devastated,” said Carole Sandy, a board member with Amor Peludo Animal Rescue, which had taken charge of the dog’s care and potential adoption before the police got involved.
“We’re not going to give up,” she continued. “We’re going to pursue this by any legal means possible.”
The dog was first spotted in July by Henderson residents who saw him running with a pack of three coyotes. After that, residents would post videos and photos of him from time to time on a neighborhood Facebook group, tracking his movements with interest.
They named him Ghost because he had a habit of disappearing when people got near.
After a resident saw Ghost limping, Susan McMullen of the Southern Nevada Trapping Team and her trapping partner captured him
In all, Ghost lived among the coyotes for at least six months and it showed. He’s got bite scars all over his face and body, he had a broken toe (which was causing the limp), and his scrotum was infected, Sandy said.
She said his medical care would cost thousands, and a GoFundMe page raised more than $14,000 to pay for it.
Home at last
Hades was at the Animal Foundation for nine days as the organization worked to figure out where he belonged. In the end, the Cabadas proved he was theirs, after all.
When Hades ran to them, Christy Cabada said the whole family was overcome with emotion.
“This past week, I was feeling horrible. I had anxiety and a knot in my chest and honestly, all of it went away when he recognized us,” she said. “My heart felt full of love.”
She said the reunion is the perfect Valentine’s Day present, and the family planned to celebrate by baking a cake.
“We got him some Valentine’s treats; he’s here, home in his big old fluffy bed,” she said.