Update on Mighty Joe Young – dog that wandered into the gorilla enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park


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The dog we referred to as “Mighty Joe Young” is actually named Meatball! His owner came forward and reclaimed him on Sunday, June 19. Meatball was first cleared medically and neutered by San Diego Humane Society veterinarians, and now we’re so happy to see him return home! 

Meatball’s family was able to fit their yard with a trolley system so he’s able to run and explore without the risk of wandering from home again in the future. Reminder from San Diego Humane Society: It’s so important to take precautions to ensure a quick reunion if your pets ever become lost. Make sure your pets have collars with contact information tags and that your dogs are licensed. San Diego Humane Society is also offering $15 microchipping clinics at its campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego through June 30, 2022; Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more, visit sdhumane.org./microchip. Thank you so much for following Meatball’s story! We’re thrilled he’s safe and back home where he belongs. 

In case you missed it, here’s a summary of what happened:On Sunday, June 12, 2022, San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Officers responded to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park after a dog had wandered in to the park’s gorilla enclosure.Zoo staff told us they believe the dog had gotten into the park on his own, and gotten all the way into the gorilla enclosure before he was noticed.As soon as zoo staff saw the dog, they moved the gorillas out, using their safety recall procedure. Our three Humane Officers were able to move in and safely leash the shepherd and bring him back to San Diego Humane Society’s Escondido Campus for evaluation.The dog is a male shepherd, about 1.5 years old, with no microchip. He has been placed on stray hold now, as we search for his owner. The rescuing Humane Officers have given the dog a shelter name of “Mighty Joe Young.”Monday, June 14, the dog received a veterinary exam by San Diego Humane Society’s Dr. Brie Sarvis. She removed several ticks from the dog, but says he is otherwise in good condition. The dog has also been given all of his vaccines.

Officer Brandt with Mighty Joe Young (a.k.a. Meatball)
Mighty Joe Young (a.k.a. Meatball) Veterinary Exam at SDHS

Pet Companion Mag
Pet Companion Mag
Southern California's Local Pet Magazine


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