One Veteran’s Halted Reunion for 2017 by Kimberly Cross
The New Year is starting out a little differently than expected for one military member. On August 20th, 2016, Army Specialist Mark Morales of the California and Arizona National Guard returned home from a one-year deployment to Iraq and Kuwait where he did flight operations. He was eager for the planned reunion he anticipated having with his Pit Bull Terrier mix, Jack.
Jack is a rescue dog. Morales recalls the time he saw him at the animal shelter for the first time, “we saw each other and Jack told me that I was taking him home.” The two of them lived together for three and a half years before Morales was deployed. Two years before he was deployed, he was introduced to a woman through a mutual friend. The two of them became friends. When she needed a place to stay, Morales opened his home to her, her son, and her pets, rent-free. It was then that she met Jack and agreed to care for him while Morales was deployed.
When Morales returned home from serving in the military for a year in the Middle East, he tried to reach out to meet up with the woman. It was short notice so the meeting didn’t happen. The second time he reached out, he was unable to get hold of her. The third time he reached out to her, she reportedly told Morales that she was not going to return Jack.
Morales spoke to military legal counsel who advised him on the small claims case. The Pima County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve her paperwork, but was unable to locate her or Jack. Now, Morales has launched a social media campaign along with a community outreach to get assistance filing a civil case.
“All I want is Jack returned to me. People have tried to reason with her and the media is trying to contact her,” Morales said.
We tried reaching the woman for a comment without success.