Search for missing dog leads to rescue of four other pets

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

It’s been more than a month since Jimmy, a 3-year-old black mouth cur dog, wandered away from a traveling carnival in Shallotte.


Extensive searches by local animal lovers, coupled with an offer of a $1,000 reward, have yielded no recent sightings or clues about Jimmy’s whereabouts.

But the bright spot is the three other lost, wandering dogs that were rescued, as well as a cat.

“So much good has happened,” said Janie Withers, founder and president of nonprofit Paws-Ability, which provides funding and support for animal issues in Brunswick County.

Jimmy has been missing since June 19, when he wandered away from caretakers Hunter and Alina Satterwhite as they managed traveling carnival rides temporarily set up in a grassy field near Tee-Time Café on Holden Beach Road.

Jimmy belongs to carnival owners Beaver and Katie Bitner of Gresham, S.C., but was in the Satterwhites’ care.

“He’s not a leash dog, but he’s a very good dog,” Hunter Satterwhite said.

So Jimmy wasn’t on a leash the day he vanished.

“He just disappeared and didn’t come back,” Satterwhite said. “I’m petrified somebody picked him up. I wish he had a GPS collar.”

He credits Withers and a team of volunteers for launching the search for Jimmy after the Satterwhites had to pack up the traveling carnival and leave town without him. Satterwhite said it was heartbreaking having to leave without him.

Search teams were launched to look for Jimmy. Traps containing clothing with Satterwhite’s scent were placed around town, too.

But Jimmy has still not been found.

Satterwhite hopes Jimmy may still turn up, just like the four other animals that were found and rescued during the searches for him.


Lucky dog

As volunteers scoured local woods in and near Shallotte these past few weeks, their searches led to the rescue of Lucky, a hound/shepherd mix found lying in the woods and near death, so dehydrated and emaciated he “couldn’t even walk or stand up,” Withers said. “They literally had to carry him out of the woods.”

Lucky was taken for emergency treatment at Capeside Animal Hospital in Leland after being found that first Saturday after Jimmy’s search party got under way.

Lucky, estimated to be about a year old, was “full of worms and fleas,” Withers said. “They pulled 42 ticks off him.”

She said Lucky had either been abandoned or wandered off from a previous owner who hadn’t bothered to look for him.

He has since become the “mascot of Capeside,” she said. “He has the run of the place and greets everybody.”

Withers said they kept Lucky the required number of days, then his rescuers with Furever Friends Animal Rescue of Brunswick County will help him find a great new home. A posting Tuesday on the Furever Friends website said Lucky will be ready for adoption after he gains more weight.


Abandoned dog

While handing out fliers about Jimmy in another area near Shallotte, a search team was alerted to a dog left behind at an abandoned house.

The pit bull mix was attached to a chain fastened around its neck. The chain was only about 2 feet long and was attached to a rail on the steps of the house. The dog had no access to food or water, and because of the short chain it couldn’t even seek shelter from the sun, Withers said.

She described the dog as “very friendly, very sweet.”

Children in the neighborhood had reported the dog’s situation to their mother, who then called it to the attention of people looking for Jimmy.

If the search for Jimmy hadn’t been under way, “no one would have ever seen this dog,” Withers said.

Brunswick County Animal Control was called to pick up the abandoned dog. It was unclear at press time whether the dog is still at the shelter.


Lost dog found

During another segment of the search for Jimmy, a team found a chocolate Lab wandering around during a thunderstorm in the Brierwood community in Shallotte.

A woman had called to say, “I think I saw Jimmy,” Withers recalled.

It wasn’t Jimmy, but another dog that was missing.

They sat with the dog for two hours until animal control could get there. By tracking the dog’s rabies tag, animal control was able to locate the family who owns the dog.


Missing cat located

The rescue team met a new volunteer who helped search for Jimmy and offered to do lost-and-found posters for the missing dog, plus future work “that will help even more animals,” Withers said.

The following week, that volunteer did a poster for a lost cat that was soon found living under the deck at a rescue group member’s house. The cat was reunited with its owner.


‘Good things came’

After those initial days of looking for Jimmy, “we have not had one single sighting since we put out the fliers,” Withers said.

She suspects someone either picked up the missing dog and saved him or else he might have gotten killed.

The Satterwhites have returned to Shallotte several times since Jimmy’s disappearance. Hunter Satterwhite said Monday they haven’t heard anything since a TV station aired a story about Jimmy. This week, the Satterwhites and their carnival are at the Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee, Ga.

Satterwhite describes Jimmy as “pretty friendly,” adding he’s sure to come to anyone bouncing a basketball or tennis ball — Jimmy’s favorite toys.

But good things have come from the search for Jimmy, Withers said.

“The whole thing is I met people during this search I didn’t know,” she said. “Other volunteers met each other and searched all day with people that they didn’t know.”

Though Jimmy hasn’t been found, “really good things came out of Jimmy’s search,” Withers said.

Hunter Satterwhite has also made “really good friends” as he returned to Shallotte still trying to find Jimmy.

“I guarantee you (Satterwhite) will never forget Shallotte, North Carolina, and this outpouring of plain care that came out of it,” Withers said. “Everybody just came together. We may never find Jimmy, but good things came.”

Anyone with information about Jimmy is asked to call Hunter Satterwhite at 310-569-3349.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.