Ballero's dog disappeared from her home in 2003. Until three weeks ago, she had no idea the dog was still alive.
On the night of August 24, Ballero's dog was brought into an all-night animal clinic in San Mateo. Kenneth Griffen told the vet he had found the dog and noticed it had an ear infection and the vet scanned the dog for a micro chip.
"And there was a chip so we called the chip company and they called the former owner," said Bollero.
Bollero got the call. She recalled, "'Your Little Girl has been found and you need to go pick her up at the emergency vet hospital.'"
She rushed down from San Francisco to the San Mateo clinic, bringing her receipts, the dog license, her theft report from 2003, but it was too late.
"My dog had been given to the people who brought it in. I was absolutely horrified," said Bollero.
The clinic manager says the young man who brought the dog in decided he wanted to keep the dog. Fearing a confrontation, the vet called the local Humane Society and was told anyone who reports finding a lost dog can keep it if unclaimed after 30 days.
"Because the people had the dog more than 30 days, under the law, it was now their dog. It doesn't make sense to me but I'm bound to oblige it," said clinic manager Noel Koeman.
Monday a judge ruled the dog belonged to Ballero and ordered 22-year-old Kenneth Griffin to return it.
"You know I just love this dog. We love this dog. I still feel like it's my dog and we just want the dog to be happy. You know, she's been a stray for seven years and she never really had a home and it's just a sad that needs to be bounced around like this and it's just horrible," said Griffin.
For Bollero the ending of this odyssey couldn't be happier.
"Her hair is shorter, but her hair will grow out. She's a wonderful animal and I know we're going to have a great time celebrating tonight," said Bollero.
Griffin says he never would have kept the dog, except that was the advice the police and Humane Society gave him. The Humane Society is saying that 30-day rule is just a rule of thumb that they use with dogs that are abandoned, not dogs that have a microchip and an owner waiting to claim them.