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Is shoplifting dog on the run from Oregon?

KSL-TV in Salt Lake City says it has heard from a woman who thinks the dog caught by surveillance cameras shoplifting a rawhide bone in a Utah supermarket is hers — a Siberian Husky named Balto who she lost four months ago at a motel in Oregon.

The otherwise unidentified Siberian Husky entered Smith’s Food and Drug store in Murray, Utah, made his way to the pet food aisle and snatched a rawhide bone from a shelf. He was last seen leaving the store with the bone clutched firmly in his teeth, ignoring the store manager’s order to “drop it.”

The story generated big national interest, with regular showings on CNN and one of the busiest days ever at KSL.com.

The TV station says they were contacted by Chanda McKeever of Washington state, who believes her dog Balto wandered all the way from an Oregon motel to Utah’s Salt Lake Valley. So far, there has been no confirmation that she’s the owner and the dog remains at large.

The original “Balto,”  was the sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 run to Nome, Alaska to deliver diptheria antitoxin  — a trip commemorated by the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. There’s a statue in his honor in New York’s Central Park. (His name has nothing to do with Baltimore; he was named after Norwegian explorer Samuel Balto.) After his death, he was “stuffed” and donated to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

If McKeever’s Balto is the dog that shoplifted in Utah, he has covered an equally impressive amount of ground, though he may not become quite as famous as the original. He hasn’t save humanity; he just stole a bone. But there’s a certain admiration for him — and his successful you-do-what-you-gotta-do heist — and it seems to be growing, judging from Internet comments.

We’ll keep you posted.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 28, 2008 at 7:05 pm

I kind of hoped the dog would get a new home out of this. He deserves one. We should all take note of the fact that he wasn’t greedy. He didn’t rip open a 50-pound bag of Purina, nor did he make off with the fanciest toys or the gourmet chewies. A simple rawhide bone was sufficient for his needs, so that’s what he took.