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Dog returned to Namath's daughter five years after disappearance

Dec. 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The daughter of football hero Joe Namath said her dog is back at her Florida home after disappearing about five years ago.

Jessica Namath, 28, of Jupiter, said her brown Shih Tzu mix, Tula, disappeared from in front of her former fiance's home in Jupiter five years ago, and she was unable to find the dog despite a campaign involving a $2,000 reward, help from neighbors and three psychics, the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday.

Namath said she received a phone call Wednesday from Michael Cecere, 42, a St. Petersburg man who said he nearly struck the pooch with his car while she was wandering in the street.

Cecere said he took the dog to ParkView Animal Hospital, where veterinarians discovered she had been outfitted with a tracking chip. The chip had Namath's name, but the phone numbers listed were out of service.

Cecere said he found Namath's current phone number on Facebook. He said returning the dog to Namath helped raise his spirits after losing his restaurant.

"To end the year on this note," he said, "you have no idea what it means."

Yanelys Miranda answered the mystery of where the dog has been for five years when she came forward and said she found Tula about a year after her disappearance. She said she did not have the dog checked for a microchip because she was in poor physical condition and did not appear to have an owner. She said Tula was brought along to St. Petersburg when her family moved two years ago.

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