LOS ANGELES, JAN. 12 -- A Dutch tourist whose hunger strike turned national attention to a search for his lost dog said today he was resigning himself to the likelihood that a dog run over in St. Louis is his beloved pet.
Leo Koewe's dog, a 4-year-old female silver terrier-poodle mix named Loekie, disappeared sometime Thursday during a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles. Koewe had changed planes in St. Louis, and Trans World Airlines officials said Loekie might have escaped from her kennel there.
Koewe, 50, said he was planning to leave late tonight for St. Louis, where TWA officials found a dog matching the description of his pet. It had been hit and killed on a street near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
Koewe, a singer-composer and hotel owner from The Hague, the Netherlands, said he still held a faint hope that the dog airline officials found today might not be Loekie.
"We have found a dog on the other side of Lambert Field here in St. Louis that was hit by a car or truck or some vehicle," TWA spokesman Don Morrison said. "The dog is dead. We believe that based on the identity we have that it does match the identification as far as this gentleman's dog."
Morrison had said earlier that if the airline failed to find Koewe's dog it would provide the passenger with financial compensation, but Morrison declined to speculate on how much that might be.
Koewe said, "My dog is not a thing that you can pay for. My dog meant very much to me."
On Monday afternoon, Koewe stationed himself at the TWA terminal at the airport, canceling his return trip to the Netherlands and vowing not to eat "until I'm sure that everything has been done to get my dog."