A dog owner wants answers after her pet escaped Banfield Pet Hospital located inside PetSmart and then managed to leave the property.
Rocko's owner, Kristi Johnson, her friends, strangers, and employees immediately searched for Rocko for hours.
"We were just heartbroken and in tears pretty much 90 percent of the day today, thinking we would not see him tonight," Johnson said.
Johnson said she dropped off Rocko at the Clearwater hospital at 7:30 a.m. for a follow-up visit. She said Rocko had surgery two days ago to remove a small tumor.
"I was called around 10:30 (a.m.) to tell me that they had an incident and that he had escaped," Johnson said.
Johnson said she was contacted one hour after Rocko went missing.
Her neighbor, Corinn Smith said no one knew where to start searching for the Miniature Australian Shepherd.
"I mean this is a national chain and people entrust their beloved dogs here and how he got out…it's unacceptable," Smith said.
Rocko was found about 7 hours later at a golf course a little more than a mile away from the hospital.
"I'm not sure what occurred that he could've been able to escape," Johnson said.
Johnson is focused on getting Rocko healthy again and she is happy he is home.
"Just everyone dropping everything they were doing to try to help us find him is amazing, but what I'd want to hear them say is how they're going to make sure this doesn't happen for anyone else in the future," Johnson said.
ABC Action News contacted Banfield Pet Hospital. They issued the following statement:
“At Banfield Pet Hospital we have strict policies in place regarding the handling of pets in and around our hospital. In the case of Rocko, we are working to fully understand how he got loose and will take necessary steps to help ensure it never happens again. We do know that once Rocko exited the hospital, our associates immediately began their search and notified authorities. We are very happy that Rocko was found, is safe and has been reunited with his family.”