STAFFORD — A dog that ran from a car after a crash on Route 72 has been reunited with its owners after spending two weeks in a marsh.

Gabbie McMillan, 23, of Little Egg Harbor, drove her car off Route 72 just before the Causeway Bridge, hit a utility pole, and rolled over. Her dog Jax, a boxer-Rottweiler mix, ran off. Despite the efforts of Stafford Township Animal Control, Jax remained scared and could not be captured.

McMillan's boyfriend, Steve Sheldon, told Townsquare Media that Jax was still in the marshy refuge when he went into an enclosure that had been set up by hired professional trappers from Mamma's-Gona Rescue.

"Last night they put some chicken in there. He walked right in and they trapped him. I got him back around midnight," Sheldon said, adding that Jax was as happy to see his owners as Sheldon and McMillan were to see him.

As Jax was found, elsewhere in the state a $5,000 reward was being offered for a different missing dog — a 14-month-old female German shepherd puppy that has been missing from Wantage since the morning of June 24. More info on the search for that dog here.

Steve Sheldon & Gabbie McMillan with Jax after his return
Steve Sheldon & Gabbie McMillan with Jax after his return (Steve Sheldon)

"As soon as he got right in front of the house, he knew where he was and ran to the door," Sheldon said, adding that Jax's return will help his girlfriend recover from her injuries.

Sheldon said that despite warnings from the municipality, people went to the national wildlife refuge by the Causeway Bridge to try and help capture Jax, who police said went into a fight-or-flight mode in which dogs keep running out of fear and don't seem to recognize their owners or recognize their names.

"More and more people were showing up and scaring him," Sheldon said, adding that people would call up and claim to have "found" Jax.

Sheldon said that the refuge where Jax ran to contained several endangered species and officials had to make sure that any traps set to capture Jax would not adversely affect the other species.

Jax made a visit to the vet on Tuesday morning a got a clean bill of health but went home with antibiotics and some dewormer and a treatment for fleas.

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