Search for Missing Show Dog Called Off

The search for a missing show dog that got loose at Kennedy International Airport was called off Thursday, but officers in the area will continue to "keep their eyes open" for the wayward whippet, officials said.

In the past 24 hours, "the searchers covered the entire airport property of nearly 5,000 acres but did not spot the dog," said Alan Hicks, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The 3-year-old whippet, formally known as Champion Bohem C'est La Vie and answering to Vivi, had won an award of merit in the annual Westminster Kennel Club show. The dog apparently escaped her travel cage on the tarmac Wednesday as she was about to be loaded onto a plane for the flight home to California.

Vivi's owner, Jil Walton, of Claremont, Calif., told the Daily News she believed she had secured the travel cage properly.

"When it's cold, she's not happy," Walton said. "She's a skinny little thing and I don't know if she'll make it. That's what's killing me."

The search initially concentrated on the marshlands on the airport's southwestern side after an officer spotted the dog headed that direction. Hick said there was no indication that Vivi had been stolen.

The dog, wearing a little black sweater and collar and microchip with contact information, had been booked on a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight. Atlanta-based Delta said it had been working with local authorities to find her.

More than 2,600 dogs were entered in the show at Madison Square Garden, including 25 whippets, a short-haired athletic dog similar to a greyhound. Best in Show went to Rufus, a colored bull terrier with an egg-shaped head.