Wayward whippet becomes urban leged
NEW YORK (AP) In the nine months since escaping her travel cage at Kennedy Airport, Vivi the wayward whippet has joined the Central Park coyote, high-rise tiger, Harlem Meer caiman and Molly the fugitive feline in New Yorks ever-growing pantheon of urban animal legends.
She was reported dozens of times, roaming cemeteries with other dogs, or hanging around stores in the borough of Queens, in some cases miles from the tarmac where she disappeared while awaiting a flight home to California on Feb. 15. A day earlier, she had won an Award of Merit at the annual Westminster Kennel Club show.Owners Jil Walton and Paul Lepiane offered a reward for Vivis return but have kept a low profile. This week, their lawyer, Joyce Randazzo, said they still hope to recover the sleek, 4-year-old brindle and white whippet, formally known as Champion Bohem Cest la Vie, and the reward, an unspecified amount, still stands.According to a map published Nov. 18 by The New York Times, Vivi was reported at more than 45 different locations before Aug. 7, when the sightings suddenly stopped, raising fears that she might be dead or left the area.For a dog like that to be able to survive this long would be very difficult unless somebody picked it up, said Richard Gentles, director of administration for Animal Care & Control of New York Cit .A volunteer group that devotes itself to finding Vivi has reported a new lead: an anonymous caller who had seen her neighbor with a dog that resembled the elusive canine.She said he takes it to work every day. We asked if it was a greyhound and she said No, its a whippet, said Rosa Chile, who answers calls at a toll-free number. She sounded very legitimate, but she was afraid.Chile said the area of the purported sighting was being watched, but would not give other details, even where it is other than a few minutes from Kennedy airport.Recovered or not, Vivi already has joined the colorful list of animals occupying niches as urban legends, says Steve Zeitlin, the director of City Lore, a center for the study of such things.Just two months after Vivi vanished into a wildlife area adjoining JFK, a cat named Molly became trapped inside a wall of a delicatessen in Manhattans Greenwich Village where she earned her keep as a mouser. It took two weeks to extricate the feline without damaging the landmark building.Other incidents in recent years involved a full-grown tiger living in a Manhattan apartment, an alligator-like caiman that was recovered from the Harlem Meer pond in Central Park and a truly wily coyote that led police and animal experts on a chase through the park before it was captured.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO