Missing circus dog ‘Pierre’ found after disappearance in Smyrna

SMYRNA — Pierre the performing dog was in transit to New England Monday after going missing following a Fourth of July performance in Smyrna.

The mixed breed canine was in good shape when located Saturday night after perhaps getting stolen from the Zebrini Family Circus two days earlier.

Smyrna Police spokesman Cpl. Brian Donner said it was “unknown at this time if someone just let the dog out of its kennel or they physically removed it and then brought it back to George C. Wright Memorial Park on North Main Street.”

Zebrini Family Circus spokeswoman Margaret Valencia said 3-year-old Pierre wasn’t prone to straying from his kennel, and speculated that someone may have entered a custom made, air conditioned trailer and seized the four-legged crowd pleaser around 7 p.m.

“Even if the cage is open Pierre gets out he doesn’t wander,” she said.
“There were a lot of people from the public roaming in that area and we knew right away that he hadn’t run away.

“He was used to performing with a lot of loud music and noise and wouldn’t get scared by a nearby crowd. We always keep track of our animals but somehow Pierre disappeared anyway.”

The show had to go on, and the remaining Zebrini troupe consisting of 28 humans, two camels, two donkeys, four ponies and nine dogs left Delaware for the American Legion in Berkley, Massachusetts without a much loved member.

“Our animals are part of our family,” Ms. Valencia said. “The feeling would be the same if anyone was left behind. We arrived at our next stop and didn’t feel whole.
”It was terrible — Pierre is our only high diving dog and has brothers and sisters with us. The show wasn’t complete because you can’t just train another performer to do that and immediately step in.”

Never before has a animal disappeared from the circus, Ms. Valencia said.
“We’ve had issues with damaged equipment but nothing like this,” she said.
After Smyrna PD put out a missing dog report on social media, “we received lots of tips. Many strays were called in as Pierre but obviously those didn’t pan out,” Cpl. Donner said.

Pierre was located near where he went missing.
“We were notified Saturday night of a dog matching Pierre’s description roaming the park and we were able to respond and take custody of Pierre,” Cpl. Donner said.
“Being that the dog was found where it was reported stolen that’s why I say we cannot say for sure that the dog didn’t just get loose or get let out.”

Despite the incident, Ms. Valencia said the circus eagerly anticipates forward to a Smyrna return.
“We’ve done shows there before but this was the first on the Fourth of July,” she said.

“There was a good turnout and we very much look forward to coming into town again at the same time. It’s our hope that the next crowd will be even larger as people become accustomed to it.”

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