SoCal Cat Missing 12 Years Reunited with family now living in Washington

Pristine Villarreal

Missing SoCal Cat Found In Blythe

It’s not uncommon for work to follow animal control officers home. And that is precisely what happened when Riverside County Animal Control Officer Dalton Churchwell noticed a cat roaming around his backyard on Oct. 1 in Blythe. He managed to catch the cat and scan it for a microchip.

The scan showed the cat had gone missing in 2011 from his home in San Diego. Officer Churchwell took a chance and called the owners who were ecstatic to learn that Butters had been found.

How Butters ended up in Blythe, Angelo Castellino, Butters’ owner, said he couldn’t imagine, however he noted that Butters was always an adventurous cat.

Angelo and his wife, Shelley, who now live in Stanwood, WA were anxious to have Butters back home with his brother Barnacles, but distance was an issue.

Upon hearing the story, The ASK Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the support, education, and communication of programs that support the Department of Animal Services, stepped up and offered to fund the cost of a flight to Seattle that saw Butters safely returned to his family.

Butters’ reunion happened when Riverside County Department of Animal Services 10-year volunteer Larry Rudolph personally delivered Butters to the Castellanos in Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Butter’s story would not have been possible without the efforts of many who are committed to the health and safety of animals, including Animal Samaritans, an animal welfare organization that serves pets in the desert communities of Riverside County.

According to Joshua Dirso, customer service manager, microchip company AVID Identification Systems Inc.: “Keeping your pet’s contact information up-to-date is like having a VIP pass for peace of mind. If your pet ever decides to go on an adventure without you, updated contact information ensures that whoever finds them can quickly reach out and bring them back home. It’s the key to a speedy reunion and makes sure your furry buddy is never too far away. Think of it as a little effort that goes a long way in keeping tails wagging and hearts happy.”

Be sure your pet’s microchip information is current by going to

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