What Happened to Laci Peterson's Dog After Her Death? A Slightly Happier Ending

Viewers of the ABC special 'One Last Chance: The Trial of Scott Peterson' are wondering what happened to Laci Peterson's dog after her death.


May 15 2021, Published 6:15 p.m. ET

Laci Peterson
Source: Getty Images

Viewers of the program 20/20 have been watching "One Last Chance: The Trial of Scott Peterson" to understand Scott Peterson's overturned death sentence. Scott was initially convicted of murdering his wife Laci and unborn child, but now, a new trial has been ordered. Those who have been following along have wondered what happened to Laci's dog, McKenzie, the golden retriever. Here's everything we know about her dog and the trial. 

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What happened to Laci Peterson's dog after she died?

Laci and Scott's dog, McKenzie, became central to the case almost instantly. InTouch Weekly recounts that the dog was found wandering the neighborhood, leash on and covered in mud, while Scott was on a "fishing trip." Scott alleged that Laci took the dog on a walk on Dec. 24, 2002, the day she went missing. 

what happened to laci peterson dog
Source: IMDb
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Friends and family found Scott's story suspicious because Laci's pregnancy had been "wearing her down significantly" to the point where even a walk with McKenzie would be difficult. During the trial, the neighbor who found the pup and returned her to the Peterson home testified that there were no signs of struggle at the house and added Scott suggested she speak to a detective about the dog's discovery. 

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At one point, audiences watching the trial were so invested in the dog that it was suggested to hire a "dog psychic." Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, even commented to Katie Couric at the time, "Why aren’t we getting a people psychic? You know, if you’re gonna hire a psychic … At that time, I was just, ‘What are you talking about?’ It was, to me, absolutely ridiculous."

When Scott Peterson was arrested and taken into custody, people became concerned over the dog's fate.

what happened to laci peterson dog
Source: Getty Images
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The good news for animal lovers is that, unlike Laci, McKenzie was unharmed and was given to one of Scott's relatives following Laci's death. Laci's cats, Siam and Gracie, were given to Stacey Boyers, one of Laci's close friends who also testified at the trial. Five years after the trial, Scott's mother commented only, "The dog is well and being taken care of and is very happy." 

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother.
Source: Getty Images
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ABC '20/20' special 'One Last Chance: The Trial of Scott Peterson' presents evidence from Scott's side of the story.

Scott Peterson was convicted in 2004 after his pregnant wife Laci went missing on Christmas Eve in 2002. The case became the focus of national media attention, especially after her body was recovered in the San Francisco Bay. Scott has maintained his innocence to this day and has never once confessed to being guilty of the crime. Scott's family has been pushing for a retrial, and they also maintain his innocence.

Laci Peterson's family, however, is upset with the death penalty reversal — as is Scott's sister, Anne Bird. People will have to decide for themselves what they believe in the new docuseries. 

20/20’s “One Last Chance: The Trial of Scott Peterson” is currently streaming at ABC.com.

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