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Lost Dog Middletown Ria Kristine Ling
Apr 12, 2018

Runaway Middletown Dog Captured

By Ryan Edelson

Lost Dog Middletown Ria Kristine Ling

Kristine Ling at home with Ria after staying at Riverview Medical Center for 4 days.

If you live in the Monmouth County area, there’s a good chance you have read or heard about Ria, the runaway dog. On Saturday, March 31, Ria was adopted by Kristine Ling. On the same day, Ria ran away from her New Monmouth home. Twelve days later, Ria was found in Belford.

Kristine Ling is a Middletown native. She has two children, both college students. Her husband passed away January 2017 from ALS. She is a Middletown High School South graduate who has always been passionate about animals, people, and giving back to her community. This time, her community gave back to her.  

Ria is only 1 1/2 years old. She was born in September of 2016 and is one of 11 dogs. Her mother was a street dog but Ria grew up in a shelter in Bosnia. There were no windows, heat or electric in the shelter. A friend of Kristine’s runs the shelter and sent a photo of Ria to Kristine. In no time, Ria was flown from Bosnia, to Vienna, and then to D.C. where Kristine drove over seven hours roundtrip to take Ria home.

When Ria got home, she was let into the backyard where she then ran away. This is where the community came together.

Kristine shared the disappearance of Ria on Facebook. The following day was Easter and Kristine received a call from a gentleman who lives nearby. He told Kristine that the dog was in his neighbor’s yard. Kristine and her daughter arrived at the house in less than five minutes, but when Kristine tried to put Ria on a leash, she was bitten on the finger which resulted in a four day stay at Riverview Medical Center.

Many people sighted the dog but no one was able capture her. Kristine decided she needed a trapper. She explained, “Ria started out in the Wilson area, moved on to Palmer near the trailer park, then over to the Harmony section. I received reports that Ria was over by Sears, Wendy’s, and even at the Middletown Police Department! She was also spotted in Belford by the Fire Department. They chased her down but she continued down the Henry Hudson trail and over the Sea Bright Bridge into Sea Bright. She would cross the bridge all alone! She put miles on herself.” 

People driving around town might have noticed the missing dog signs. 

“It’s amazing how helpful and nice people in this town can be.” Kristine said.

Kristine then received a call from a gentleman who is the gas attendant at Exxon on 549 Highway 36 North in Belford (next to the 7-Eleven). He said he would see Ria coming by nightly for food as he feeds the stray cats tuna around 2:30 a.m.

A trap was set with hot dogs and other tempting foods at the Exonn. 

On April 12, Kristine received another phone call from this kind stranger informing her that Ria was currently at the gas station. He wanted Ria to enter the trap, but he first had to keep the opossums from getting into the cage first. 

“If it weren’t for the gentleman at the Exonn, we would have never caught her tonight.” Kristine stated.

Overwhelmed with joy, Kristine took Ria to Red Bank Animal Hospital to check her out. At the end of the escapade, Ria walked away with just a few ticks. The situation could have ended much worse, but Kristine along with the rest of the community is eternally grateful for Ria’s safety.

Kristine asks that everyone check out Rescue Ridge and make a donation if possible. The trapper who helped Kristine volunteers with Rescue Ridge and takes no money herself. Rescue Ridge is a last chance dog and cat rescue that saves pets in the New Jersey shore. They save animals in shelters and strays in New Jersey. They are having an event at FirstEnergy Park (Blue Claws Stadium) on May 19.

“Needless to say Ria won’t be going outside for a while and the wee-wee pads have been purchased!” said Kristine.