ALMONT (WWJ) – A search for a missing service dog came to a tragic end in Lapeer County as the yellow lab was found dead.

The 15 month-old pup ran away from her owner’s yard in Almont on Saturday, May 27, when she was scared by a loud noise, according to Rochester Hills-based Leader Dogs For The Blind.

leader dog brinkley1 Heartbreaking End To Search: Missing Leader Dog Found Dead

Leader Dog Brinkley (Photo: Leader Dogs for the Blind)

Tips were sought from the public to find “Brinkley” — described as  a”very friendly” dog who would likely be scared to be out on her own.

She was last seen alive near 29 Mile and Van Dyke Rd. before Leader Dogs spokeswoman Rachelle Kniffen shared the heartbreaking update on Monday.

“It is with a heavy heart that we report that the body of Leader Dog Brinkley has been recovered,” Kniffen said, in a statement. “We would like to thank everyone, especially the Lost Dog Search Team of Michigan, for their tireless efforts in searching for Brinkley. Through this trying time those close to Brinkley have been comforted by the outpouring of support from both the Leader Dog and local communities.”

No details regarding where the dog was found or how she died were immediately released.

Kniffen asked that privacy of the Leader Dog client be respected during this difficult time.

  1. Pamela Odom says:

    Really, CBS? What was that loud noise. I raised that dog for the first 12 months of her life, and she was rock solid. What was the reason this dog became so terrified she ran for her life? The client has lied repeatedly about the reason for the dog’s departure from her yard, but whatever happened to Brinkley, it had to be horrendous for that stable, calm, well-trained dog to bolt.

    Brinkley was loved, cherished, and protected while she lived with us. This is what happened to Brinkley. I have tried to answer the questions coming in on the Leader Dog host home/puppy raising site, but the answers are being deleted by LDB.

    On 05/27/2017, Brinkley went missing from the home of her client. No one with an IQ over 5 could be reached, a message was left, but the Leader Dogs for the Blind staff was gone for the holiday weekend, and it was clear they had no intention of handling the missing dog and losing out on their weekend. The story about how Brinkley actually went missing has not been consistent; however, the gist of it is that Brinkley was in the yard on a 40 foot cable tie out, on a martingale collar, when the cable was cut by a lawnmower (not sure about this story, as it has changed repeatedly). Brinkley panicked and bolted. Despite the search (staffed by predominately LDB volunteers) that lasted for weeks, Brinkley’s body was found on 06/19/2017 in a wooded/brush section between two farm fields. The severed cable tie out she had been dragging had apparently tangled in some brush/branches, and she appears to have strangled (by the martingale collar attached to the remnants of the tie out cable)/starved/died of thirst. We will never know the true cause of death, or approximate date of death, as Leader Dogs for the Blind declined a necropsy, despite payment offered by a private source, and they had her cremated immediately.

    I raised Brinkley for the first 12 months of her life. She was an amazing dog, the most intelligent I have ever raised. She was calm, willing to learn, and loved everyone and everything she encountered. She returned to Leader Dogs before Christmas 2016. While there, she was apparently attacked by another dog. She was spayed and then tossed into a kennel where she was whimpering and shivering. She went on to complete her formal training and was matched with a client. They completed their training together at LDB, and had only been home for 10 days when this tragedy occurred. This should never have happened.

    Beautiful,smart, loving LDB Brinkley, gone too soon, another victim of Leader Dogs for the Blind’s ambivalence towards their dogs.
    DOB: 11/18/2015
    DOD: Unknown.
    Reported missing date: 05/27/2017
    Body found: 06/19/2017
    Cause of death: Negligence

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