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Owner of dog safely removed from gorilla enclosure at San Diego Zoo Safari Park comes forward

The dog temporarily named "Mighty Joe Young” has been reclaimed and we've also learned that his name is Meatball.

SAN DIEGO — The owner of the dog who was safely removed from inside of a gorilla enclosure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Sunday, June 12 has come forward, according to the San Diego Humane Society. The dog was temporarily named "Mighty Joe Young” and we've learned now that his name is Meatball.

On Sunday, June 12 the dog made his own way into the park and then the gorilla enclosure, prompting a call to SDHS officers.

The gorillas watched the dog warily, according to zoo staff reports, with one following the lost dog for a short period of time and another chasing it away from a ledge. When zoo staff saw the dog, they were able to recall the animals using their safety recall procedures.

The three SDHS officers were able to leash the one-and-a-half-year-old shepherd and bring him back to the organization's Escondido campus for evaluation. He did not have a microchip.

"The dog was very easy, sweet, a nice dog. Very easy to leash," said SDHS officer Samantha Clark, who responded on Sunday. "He was incredibly lucky that he did not get any injuries from his encounter."

Neither the dog nor the gorillas were hurt in the incident, SDHS and Safari Park staff reported.

On Monday, Meatball received a veterinary exam by the San Diego Humane Society's Dr. Brie Sarvis. She removed several ticks from the dog, but said he is otherwise in good condition. The dog has also been given all of his vaccines.

Meatball will be scheduled for neuter surgery before allowed to return home.

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