La Habra Animal Control Officer reunites best friends


Seven-year-old “Buddy” is a 10-pound chihuahua who hasn’t had to worry about having street smarts.

But on September 8th, the portable pup, ran out of an open gate from his home and went on a two-day adventure through town.

It finally came to an end when La Habra Animal Control Officer, Kristy Hernandez found him and reunited him with his owner 17-year-old Karly Cuevas who had been at home – heartbroken.

“My dad was cutting trees in the backyard and he left the gate open. When he went to the garage to get a tool, Buddy went running out the gate,” said Cuevas. “My Dad went after him, but Buddy was too fast and wouldn’t come back – even though he kept calling after him.”

Cuevas and her family went to look for Buddy, but there wasn’t a trace of him, anywhere. Karly decided to post a photo of him on the Facebook page “You know you grew up in La Habra when” to see if any of her neighbors had spotted him.

The group, which is home to 22,000 active members, who talk about City events, La Habra history and where to get the best donuts in town immediately began to reply to Karly’s post.

“A lot of people started to comment, but they said they saw him across town. And I just kept thinking ‘How on earth can that little dog be all the way over there?’ Cuevas said. “This dog was stopping traffic in the middle of Euclid Street, running across busy streets … and no one could catch him. He just kept running off. I couldn’t believe it was Buddy.”

But Buddy surprised everyone.

Karly Cuevas, 17, of La Habra, holds her dog, Buddy, as her mother, Tereas Cuevas, gets closer at the La Habra Police Department. Karly was able to find her lost dog with the help of Animal Control Officer Kristy Hernandez, behind her.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Everyone except for La Habra Animal Control officer Kristy Hernandez who has been working at the Department for the last five years and has seen her share of animal adventures.

Hernandez, 33, worked in an Animal Hospital while she attended California State University, Fullerton where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

When she saw an opening at La Habra Police Department’s Animal Control unit, it sounded like the perfect merging of her interests in law and animals.

 She has spent the last five years as an officer for animals, sharpening her pet detective skills, mastering animal retrieval and quickly discovering skunk calls are her least favorite ones to get.

But overall, Hernandez couldn’t ask for a better career.

“The best part of my job is reuniting animals with their owners,” she said. “Everyone is always so happy.”

According to Hernandez, Buddy had slipped away from his home and made his way across town and found refuge at a residence where he could hide under the porch.

He was exhausted, had a few punctured wounds, appeared to have gotten into a fight and had decided it was time to stop running.

Hernandez found him thanks to her daily beat checks, which starts with canvassing through social media channels from Nextdoor, Facebook and local Facebook pages such as “You know you grew up in La Habra when.”

When Hernandez got a call, two days later on September 10th about a small dog that wouldn’t leave a home, she arrived at the scene and knew it was Buddy.

“When I arrived at the house the chihuahua was sitting on the porch of this residence and it didn’t want to leave. He could’ve easily run away from me, so I didn’t approach him. Instead I double checked the photo on the Facebook site, and it was a perfect match,” Hernandez said. “I messaged the owner and asked if they could meet me at the address.”

The reunion was sweet for Buddy and Karly.

He knew he was in trouble, but quickly adapted back to being in the safe comfort of his home.

On September 12th Karly updated her post on the Facebook page that helped find Buddy.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that shared on my post from a few days ago about my missing fur baby, Buddy. I also wanted to thank the owners of the house that had him safe and taken care of, I didn’t get to see them or say thank you and I really hope that you see this post! I also wanted to thank La Habra Police Department Animal Control for bringing my best friend back home with me.”


La Habra Animal Control Officer Kristy Hernandez with the dog, Buddy, she helped find.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge


Seventeen-year-old Karly Cuevas of La Habra with her dog, Buddy, that she was able to find with the help of a La Habra Animal Control Officer.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge