Missing beagle rescued from Spanish lab sparks public search

He managed to escape his fate as a secret laboratory experiment in Spain, but now Gadget, a beagle rescued by an animal rights group, has gone missing somewhere in Southern California.

Gadget was among 40 beagles rescued last fall by the Los Angeles-based Beagle Freedom Project. A clandestine research laboratory in Barcelona was breeding the dogs for scientific experiments and product testing, according to a report in the Contra Costa Times. The lab was shutting down, and Beagle Freedom Project found the dogs just before they were put down.

Gadget and the others were flown to the U.S. last November and found new homes. But Gadget disappeared on May 31 in the Los Angeles area, and his owners have started a mass public search to find him.

They've hired three pet detectives, posted flyers, created a Facebook page and are also offering a $2,500 reward, according to NBC Southern California. The search for Gadget caught online attention: "Beagle Freedom Project" was a trending search term on Yahoo in the Los Angeles area.

Gadget was last seen in North Hollywood and is around 45 pounds, wearing a green collar. The lab also branded a tattoo on his ear. Because Gadget spent almost five years in a cage, he is afraid of loud noises, according to reports.

"He's a great dog," owner Ryan Kelley told NBC. "He's just had a rough past."

"Every single day, the love and the progress he's made has been so noticeable because of his history and where he's come from," said Amanda Kelley.

More popular Yahoo! News stories:

Judge orders 'Adolf Hitler' to be kept in child custody

'Sesame Street' songs allegedly used in Guantanamo Bay interrogations

Guitar Pee urinal turns user into a music whiz