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Smiley held off-island, 'indognito'

Smiley is now is being held off-island at the home of "a professional dog trainer and professional in canine behavior," according to a press release from the Whidbey Animals' Improvement Foundation.

The animal's location is a secret. Smiley is being held incognito, or perhaps in his case, indognito.

Smiley is the pound dog considered dangerous and slated for euthanasia by WAIF until a couple intervened, taking the dispute to court. The judge sided with WAIF, but someone then stole Smiley from the WAIF shelter in Coupeville. Later, deputies found the dog and the Sheriff's Office kept him under wraps for a couple of weeks, awaiting DNA test results before returning him to WAIF.

Now, Smiley is apparently in the hands of a professional.

"The work with Smiley continues at this time," states the WAIF release, which was sent out on Tuesday afternoon. Smiley will remain at the secret off-island location awaiting the completion of the Island County Sheriff's Office's investigation.

WAIF is covering the cost of Smiley's care and evaluation during this time, according to the release.

The Island County Sheriff's Office said EDP Biotech has yet to return DNA results confirming the identity of the dog in custody as the infamous Smiley, who lived at WAIF's Coupeville shelter for nearly two years before becoming involved in a legal battle over his custody between the shelter and two former volunteers.

Bob Baker, who filed suit against WAIF in Nov. 2008, gave no comment when contacted by phone April 2. Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill ruled against Baker and his wife, Barbara Moran, in February. The couple's attorney, Adam Karp, has not returned messages left by the Whidbey News-Times.

WAIF contacted Best Friends, a Utah-based animal sanctuary, in April 2008, but the organization declined to take custody of Smiley. The shelter contacted Best Friends again this April 2009, and presented Seattle-based dog trainer Cristine Dahl's videos of Smiley. Again, Best Friends denied Smiley a home.

WAIF Executive Director Stephen Paysse and Sheriff Mark Brown attended the Island County Commissioners Monday morning meeting in case Smiley supporters decided to follow-through with their Web comments to enlist the commissioners' help in the Smiley saga. Despite posts on the Whidbey News-Times Web site calling for Smiley supporters to rally at the meeting, the online commenters failed to make an appearance.

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