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Dog Reunited With Family In El Cajon After Missing For 8 Years

Lila Tatar is reunited with Chance, Jan. 3, 2014.
San Diego County
Lila Tatar is reunited with Chance, Jan. 3, 2014.

Zachary Tatar, Chance and Lila Tatar at their home in El Cajon in 2004.
Lillian Tatar
Zachary Tatar, Chance and Lila Tatar at their home in El Cajon in 2004.

A dog missing for eight years was reunited with his family in El Cajon, the San Diego County Department of Animal Services announced Friday.

Chance, a boxer apparently stolen from an outdoor kennel in 2006, was found Dec. 29 by Animal Services officers as he was wandering in Bonsall.

The officers scanned a microchip and contacted his owners.

"They were astounded and ecstatic when they got the telephone call saying that Chance had been found," said Dan DeSousa, deputy director of Animal Services.

The family had plastered their neighborhood with fliers and checked animal shelters when Chance first went missing, but to no avail.

DeSousa said employees in the department are always happy to see a pet reunited with its owner, but it was especially touching to see a reunification after such a long absence.

"Without this microchip, this happy reunion would have never occurred," DeSousa said. "A collar with an identification tag can easily be removed, but that microchip is proof positive as to who that animal is and who that animal belongs to."

The department has been touting microchips for several years as a way to ensure that lost animals are returned home — and exceptional stories like Chance's are provided to the news media a few times a year.

County Animal Services offers microchipping of dogs, cats and rabbits for $10 on Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. at its shelters in San Diego, Bonita and Carlsbad.