HOUSTON—An English Bulldog puppy that was stolen from a northwest Houston pet store Sunday was found Monday morning, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Two people were taken into custody in connection with the dognapping and they appeared to think it was all a big joke.
The male suspect barked as he passed by KHOU 11 News cameras and the female suspect could be seen laughing.
She blamed her barking friend for the crime.
"I don’t know why he didn’t want to buy it. He could have, but he didn’t," she said.
Both face a felony theft charge for the canine caper because the bulldog is worth $3,000.
The puppy was in good condition and returned to the pet store.
"I think he’s ready to go to sleep. He’s had a hard day," said Frank Stack, Pet City owner.
The dog was found hidden under some clothes in a closet at the Bristol Place apartments in north Houston. The suspects were arrested at the scene. The man was still wearing the same clothes he had on in the surveillance video, according to deputies.
They tracked the dog down thanks to tips called in to the store after word of the dognapping spread.
"If we didn’t act quickly, something would’ve happened to the dog," said Lt. Jeff Stauber with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. "They would’ve got rid of the dog or sold it to someone because they knew that we were looking for them."
Samantha Stack, the manager of Pet City, said she was distracted when the thief left with the dog on Sunday. The entire incident was captured on surveillance video.
"I look up and he just zooms out the door," said Stack, describing how the alleged thieves set her up.
"They all walked inside pretty much together. She picked out which dog she wanted, put it down and left, and then he started messing with that dog trying to see what he could do to take that dog," Stack explained.
The second she turned to help another customer, the thief ran out with the two-month-old puppy.
"His wife was in the car with his kids in there and then he and his friend and took off and ran outside and got in the car. They were all ready to go they had planned this from the beginning," Stack said.
Sunday’s theft wasn’t the first time a dog was stolen from the store. Thieves stole three English Bulldogs from the store three years ago, but they were never found.
Stack says the dog’s well-being was a bigger concern than the cost.
"Of course the money thing does irritate us, because this is a big way on how we make our money, but it’s mostly the fact the dog is not going to be properly taken care of," she said.
To make sure no more dogs are stolen, Pet City has changed their policy. Potential customers must now give their driver’s license before they can hold an animal.
According to the American Kennel Club, pet thefts are on the rise and many stolen dogs are being sold on the roadside or on the Internet. Others are being held for ransom.