State College family worried missing dog might not survive ‘much longer’

Leo is likely trying to find his home, but hasn’t had much luck during his 12-day journey.

The 3-year-old, 170-pound Leonburger escaped Dec. 1 from the Royal Pet Resort when the van that takes him home every day left without him. That wasn’t a mistake, but Leo didn’t know that. He broke through a regular fence, forced his way through two security gates and chased the van for about a half mile before giving up in Julian.

His owners, Royal Pet Resort staff and rescuers at Pet Recovery of Centre County have tracked him through sightings from the resort to Houserville and Lemont area. He was last spotted Tuesday morning near Walker Drive.

Savanna Woika, of State College, said her family believes it is possible he has not eaten since he went missing and are offering to donate $1,000 to any non-political charity for his safe return.

They are worried Leo, who has never been outside and off a leash until his disappearance, might not survive “much longer” on his own.

“We are truly desperate,” Woika said. “He needs people to help him by trying to talk him into getting into their cars or homes if they see him, not just report having seen him by a road. Reporting sightings is very important, but so is stopping your car to try to do more than that.”

Woika and Royal Pet Resort owner Becky Koleno have emphasized that anyone who spots Leo could try to softly call his name, offer him food and open a vehicle door with their backs turned. No one should chase him or shout at him, which might scare him and cause him run to another location.

“If we face him and make eye contact and yell their name, it’s pressure and induces fear in them,” Koleno said. “We want Leo to be comfortable in one area, provide food and water and hope he stays there and comes to us.”

Koleno has also asked that anyone who sees Leo immediately call her at 814-571-4113 or Pet Recovery at 814-933-8195. If someone cannot call at the time of the sighting, they should take note of the exact time and location and the direction Leo is moving in.

The family, resort and rescuers have people ready to respond to sightings 24 hours per day, according to Woika who asked that hunters check their traps.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli