Dog Escapes From Banfield Pet Hospital Inside Wylie PetSmart

The search for a dog that escaped from a North Texas Banfield Pet Hospital has ended in tragedy.

The Rodriquez family had been searching for Chewbacca, a 3-year-old Shar-Pei, since Friday.

Adrianna Rodriquez dropped her dog off Friday morning for a veterinary visit at Banfield Pet Hospital inside PetSmart on Farm-to-Market Road 544 in Wylie. Her mother, Monica Cano-Rodriquez, later received a phone call saying Chewbacca escaped.

"They called me, it happened so quickly I don't remember the time, more or less stating they went to let Chewbacca out and he escaped. He went through the Banfield out through the front doors," Monica Cano-Rodriquez said. "So I asked, 'OK, do you have him?' And they were like, 'No ma'am we don't have him.'"

For three days, the Rodriquez family searched for Chewbacca, along with associates from Banfield Pet Hospital and a search-and-rescue K9 team.

Monday evening, after NBC 5 aired a story on the search for Chewbacca, Monica Cano-Rodriquez said her daughter, Adrianna Rodriquez, found Chewbacca as he was hit by a car. Adrianna Rodriquez rushed him to Banfield Pet Hospital, the same hospital he escaped from, where he died.

The Rodriquez family lives together in Rockwall, but several family members work around the Wylie area. Friday was Chewbacca's first time at the Wylie facility.

The Rodriquez family questions how he was able to make it out of the Banfield Pet Hospital area and make it out the doors of PetSmart store without someone stopping him. They were told Chewbacca growled when someone went to let him out of his cage, according to the Rodriquez family.

"They should be trained if a dog growls at you, you do this 24/7, you should be trained to handle these types of situations," Monica Cano-Rodriquez said.

She went on to say, "How is it possible that a tech, I understand he may growl, I understand you may be scared but this is your job – your job is to ensure his safety. They should be trained to handle scared dogs in these situations."

Adrianna Rodriquez said the company told her employees chased Chewbacca, even following him in cars, to the place where he was last seen: a wooded area near FM 544 and Country Club Road.

That's an area the family spent days searching.

During Monday's search Monica Cano-Rodriquez told NBC 5, "There is no plan what are we going to do? This is day three. He's been gone at night. It has been cool. Yeah, he's an inside dog and he's a Shar-Pei, but what are we doing to ensure he's safe now? There's coyotes out here."

"I ended up dropping a dog off and coming back with no dog and that's heartbreaking and really, really bad for a clinic," Adrianna Rodriquez said.

I'm frustrated that they didn't take the precautions to catch a dog, and I understand he growled at you, but you work with dogs – dogs are going to growl at you, and you should know how to take responsibility for that," Rodriquez said prior to Chewbacca's death Monday.

NBC reached out to Banfield Pet Hospital's corporate offices for comment Monday and received this statement in response:

“At Banfield Pet Hospital we have strict policies in place regarding the handling of pets in and around our hospital. In the case of Chewbacca, we are working to fully understand how he got loose. Once Chewbacca exited the hospital, our associates immediately notified his family as they began their search. The hospital team – and associates from neighboring Banfield Pet Hospitals – are continuing to look for Chewbacca sun up to sun down, and have hired a search and rescue dog to assist with the search. There have been sightings of Chewbacca over the past few days and we hope this additional media exposure helps reunite him with his family as quickly as possible.”
-Dr. Ari Zabell, client advocate, Banfield Pet Hospital

We have reached out again to the company in light of Chewbacca's death and received this response"

"We hoped for a better outcome and are saddened by the news. Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time. We are continuing to speak with the family and offer any assistance we can to help with their loss."
-Dr. Ari Zabell, client advocate, Banfield Pet Hospital

While Banfield Pet Hospital and PetSmart are separate entities, NBC 5 also reached out to PetSmart for comment Monday afternoon. They did not offer comment and instead referred us to Banfield Pet Hospital.

Editor's Note: The headline has been changed to make it explicitly clear the animal escaped from the Banfield Pet Hospital inside the Wylie PetSmart.

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