A 21-year-old woman who police say was trying to sell both herself and a stolen German shepherd on Craigslist — in separate ads, of course — was arrested at a motel in the Poconos this week.
The German shepherd, named Shiba, was reported missing Nov. 23 from St. John the Beloved Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Canadensis, Pa.
Among those looking for the nine-month-old dog was a group called Hound Hunters of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and among the places they were looking was the Internet.They were tipped off about an ad on Craigslist, featuring a photo of a dog who appeared to be Shiba, in what appeared to be a motel room. All the owners were asking for was a “small re-homing fee.”
The first thing Hound Hunters did was call the number listed and arrange to buy the dog.
The second thing they did was search the Internet a little more, and discover that the woman trying to sell Shiba was also advertising herself as an escort.
The third thing they did was go to police.
The Poconos Regional Police Department began its own investigation, confirmed the woman had the two ads on Craigslist, and was promoting herself on other escort sites as well. On one of them, she had posted a message for police: “Hey Mt. Pocono PD catch me if you can.”
That taunt may have inspired police to take a little more interest in what they might have previously viewed as a run of the mill stolen dog case.
Police and members of Hound Hunters met in a vacant lot near the Travelodge motel and finalized their plan, in which Hound Hunters of NEPA President Christine Cahill and member Donna Barney, who had set up the meeting, would knock on the woman’s motel room door.Here, we’ll let Cahill, pick up the story.
“Donna and I would go in by ourselves,” she wrote in a detailed Facebook post. “We were to knock on the door, and when she answered and we confirm that she and the dog are actually there, Donna was to hit her call button on her phone to alert the detective…..and they would be there in the blink of an eye. They told us if anything didn’t seem right, we were to immediately get away from the door/window and take cover.
“First, let me tell you, just looking at this place (a motel), would give anyone the creeps. Second, with the info we found on this person, anyone would be crazy to just walk right up and knock on the door … but, yes, that’s exactly what Donna and I did.
” … I knock on the door, she pushes the curtain aside to look out, then opens the door, just a crack. We see a beautiful black nose sniffing through the crack … We were invited inside, but I asked if we could bring the dog outside (especially when I saw a man sleeping in the bed just inside the door).”
(At that moment, Donna was hitting the button on her phone to alert police, but she had lost her signal, as can happen in the Poconos. She excused herself, walked around the corner, picked up a signal and hit the button again.)
“Just as the girl stepped back outside, the police came around the corner,” Cahill wrote.
Kingston was charged with receiving stolen property and taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility.
Police said she will also be charged with theft of lost or mislaid property and solicitation to commit prostitution.
Shiba was reunited with her owners, who were visiting from New York when Shiba went missing. They made the two hour drive and picked Shiba up at the monastery.
“Donna and I are still bursting with adrenaline after our first ‘sting’ operation that actually included the police,” Cahill wrote in the Facebook post. “We’ve done this before, but not on the level of needing police back-up. As we like to say….. ‘This isn’t our first rodeo!’ And, I’m sure it won’t be our last.”
(Photos from the Hound Hunters Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 11th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, arrested, christine cahill, craigslist, dog, dogs, escort, german shepherd, hound hunters, hound hunters of northeastern pennsylvania, investigation, kaynie kingston, missing, monastery, operation, pets, poconos, police, prostitution, reunion, sheba, shiba, sting, stolen
After a Fresno family shared a post on Facebook about their dog Ziggy going missing, and Ziggy showing up not much later on Craigslist for sale, a good Samaritan said he did what he had to do — buy Ziggy back and return him to his family.
Ziggy, a Maltese, was stolen Friday from a crate in his front yard in Fresno, Calif., his owner, Kris Villasenor, told ABC News.
By Saturday he was returned to the family, by a stranger named Jeremiah Lee.
“I was browsing Facebook the other day and my aunt shared a post about a lost dog,” Lee told ABC News. “I read it and realized that the dog was stolen in my neighborhood.”
Lee made a mental note to keep an eye out for the dog, and followed Villasenor’s post on Fresno’s lost and found pets Facebook page.
When he saw that someone had commented on the post that they had seen the dog listed for sale, and provided a link to the Craigslist ad, Lee took action.
“I texted the number thinking that there was no way that they would respond and just told them that they had broken a little girl’s heart and to do the right thing.”
To Lee’s surprise, the seller answered his text, claiming they had bought Ziggy from a homeless person and had no idea that he was stolen.
While skeptical of that story, Lee met the seller Saturday and paid $40 for the Maltese he had never met.
Lee got in touch with Villasenor through Facebook, informing her he had her dog, and she picked Ziggy up right away.
Villasenor insisted on reimbursing Lee, even though he protested.
“I wanted to help because I would hope that someone would do the same for me,” he said.
“It’s amazing what Jeremiah did just to get the dog back,” Villasenor said. “The kids are super stoked about it. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 12th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertisement, animals, bought, california, craiglist, dog, dogs, facebook, family, for sale, found, fresno, good samaritan, lost, maltese, missing, pets, returned, stranger, ziggy
Tillie, the setter mix who stood guard for a week after the basset hound she was roaming with fell into a cistern, was honored by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee last week.
Tillie, her basset hound friend, Phoebe, and their owner B.J. Duft were present as Gov. Inslee read a proclamation naming Tillie “Washingtonian of the Day” Thursday.
Inslee urged “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”
Tillie was the first non-human to receive the honor.
“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate,” Inslee said. “I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”
Both dogs have been enjoying some newfound fame in Vashon, about 20 miles southwest of Seattle, since they wandered off from their home in early September.
A week later they were found — 4-year-old Phoebe stuck in the bottom of shallow cistern, 11-year-old Tillie watching over her.
They were discovered by a volunteer from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, who snapped the photo to the left.
Duft, who said the dogs escaped from his property through a hole in the fence, was ecstatic when he learned they’d been found.
“It really made me think a lot about their friendship and Tillie’s commitment to her companion, that’s for sure,” Duft told the Associated Press.
The governor has bestowed about 70 “Washingtonian of the Day” certificates since taking office.
Duft said both dogs are now sporting GPS collars.
(Top Photo: Duft, second from left, holds his dogs as they visit with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, far left; AP Photo by Ted S. Warren. Bottom photo courtesy of Vashon Island Pet Protectors)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, basset hound, cistern, dogs, found, friends, friendship, governor, honor, jay inslee, lost, loyal, loyalty, missing, mix, pets, phoebe, proclamation, sette, tillie, vashon, vashon island, washington, washingtonian of the day
Bella, the Maltese mix who mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago from a home in Durham, N.C., has been returned to her family — and in an equally mysterious manner.
Bella wandered away from home on March 11, and, minutes later, a neighbor saw the driver of a car stop and pick her up at an intersection.
A day later Scott and Kerry Holmes received a phone call from a person claiming to have found their dog. But when they didn’t specify a reward amount, the caller hung up without supplying any additional information.
The family contacted police, and began putting up “lost dog” flyers.
Near the end of last week, a third party contacted the family in an attempt to arrange the return of Bella. The family later met her at a nearby church and picked the dog up.
But neither the Holmes nor police, who have made an arrest in the case, are saying much more than that.
Scott Holmes, an attorney, said Bella was safely returned home Thursday night. “Our family is so happy she is home. We are celebrating her return. She has slept a lot and seems to be perking up today,” he said.
He declined to offer any specifics about the dog’s return, but did say that his family is collecting reward money for a single mother in Chapel Hill who provided information that led to Bella’s return.
Meanwhile, police arrested Amanda Shanese Bynum, 28, of Carrboro, and charged her with extortion, larceny of a dog and felony conspiracy, according to the Durham Herald-Sun. According to police, Bynum threatened not to return the dog unless she was paid $600.
According to WTVD, Bella traveled at least as far as Charlotte during the time she was missing. A photograph of her at a Charlotte pet supply store, wearing some new dog clothes, appeared on Bynum’s social media page, the Holmes family said.
Holmes said that after being returned Bella was lethargic over the weekend, but that she is bouncing back. He said she appeared to be in good shape physically.
“My wife and Bella are catching up on their sleep and are really, really glad to be reunited,” Holmes said. “They’re very close, and they’re doing really well. There’s been a lot of joy in our house since we got Bella home.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 26th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, bella, dogs, durham, home, kidnapped, larceny, maltese, missing, mix, north carolina, pets, ransom, returned, theft
He isn’t exactly adept at catching airborne snacks in his mouth. Does that mean Fritz the Golden retriever should be made a laughingstock?
Probably not, but welcome to the Internet age, in which dogs (and humans) are more likely to become famous not for doing something right, but for doing something wrong — and the more “epic” the fail the better.
This video was posted on YouTube last week, and since has been reposted on major media websites, and broadcast on TV, like yesterday’s Today Show — all but guaranteeing it will go viral.
We hesitated before even posting it, because in a way we see it as laughing “at” Fritz, who, for all we know, might have a vision problem or other disability.
But we admire his persistence, and the look of determination in his eyes. We admire that far more than we admire the owner, and — assuming Fritz is eating everything thrown at him after it lands on the ground — the unhealthy diet he is providing his dog.
Fritz flubs it when he tries to catch, among other food items, a donut, a slice of pizza, a hot dog (on bun, with mustard), a chimichanga and more.
Not until the very end does he manage to catch an item — what appears to be a french fry.
The YouTube post provides few details, so we can only hope this was videotaped over time, as opposed to all in one day — for the sake of Fritz’s stomach, and his owner’s carpeting.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 25th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, catching, dog, dogs, error, fail, food, fritz, funny, golden retriever, humor, internet, miss, missing, pets, snacks, treats, video, videos, youtube
Then the family got a phone call that indicated otherwise.
The caller, who claimed to have picked up their lost dog at a Durham, N.C., intersection, asked if there was a reward, and hung up when the answer didn’t please her.
The phone call was made six days ago, and the woman hasn’t called back since, according to the owners of Bella.
“She said she had the dog and asked about money and if we had a reward,” recalled Caroline Wilgen. “I said yes, but we hadn’t decided how much and she hung up.”
Bella, a white Maltese-poodle mix, wandered off last Wednesday as her owner unloaded groceries. She made it to the intersection of Cornwallis and Pickett Road.
“Several cars stopped when she tried to cross the road and the person who was closest to the dog scooped it up and then tried to put it in her car,” Wilgen told WTVD.
The next day Bella’s family received the phone call from a woman who said she had found the owner’s contact information on the dog’s collar.
“We received a call Thursday, around 8:00 pm, from the young woman who picked Bella up,” Wilgen’s husband wrote on his blog. “She said that Bella got into her car voluntarily. She sounded a little worried she may be in trouble. … We have hoped she would call back, but so far, nothing.
“We really hope she calls. We are not trying to get her in trouble, we just want Bella home. Maybe a neighbor or friend will recognize Bella and encourage her to do the right thing.”
Wilgen adopted Bella two years ago, driving seven hours to pick the dog up from a shelter in Tennessee, where she’d been dropped off with matted fur and rotting teeth.
Now Bella needs to be rescued again.
“She’s already been through a lot so if we could bring her home, that’d be great,” Wilgen said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, car, dog, dognapped, dogs, durham, kidnapped, lost, maltese, missing, mix, n.c., north carolina, pets, phone call, picked up, poodle, ransom, reward, wandered
It’s always nice to read about a happy reunion between a family and their lost dog — except maybe when the dog being reunited is one you thought was your own.
The Miller family of Tyler, Texas, lost their dog Reese, a Maltese, seven years ago. They were visiting family outside of Dallas when the little white dog ran off.
Dinah Miller said she never stopped searching, and hoping Reese would return: ”Every time you hear a bark, you think, that sounds like Reese,” she said. “We drove. We searched. We looked over fences. We peeped everywhere we could without getting shot.”
Last weekend, the Millers learned Reese had been found on a road in Tacoma, Wash., more than 2,000 miles away. The family received a call after a check for a microchip revealed they were the dog’s registered owners.
Reese was flown to Houston, and Dinah Miller reunited with her Monday, KHOU reported.
How Reese had gotten to Tacoma, and where she’d spent the intervening seven years, were mysteries Miller thought would go unanswered — at least until another owner surfaced.
Kelli Davis of Spanaway, Wash., said her family adopted the dog at a shelter in Mesquite, Texas, near Dallas, six years ago, and named him Harley.
Davis and her family later moved from Texas to Washington.
She said Harley recently escaped after her 2-year-old daughter unlatched the front door.
“We were running down the street trying to find him and she was crying, ‘My Harley ran away,’” said Davis. “Every day we have gone out and printed fliers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day calling his name.”
“Harley is my daughter’s best friend. That’s her little buddy. They do everything together,” she said.
Davis said Harley was listed as an owner surrender by the Texas shelter he was adopted from. When she called that shelter to find out if they had ever checked the dog for a microchip she was told that information wasn’t available. The shelter said it purges its records after five years.
“I don’t know what to do. We just lost a part of our family,” said Davis.
Miller, meanwhile, says she sympathizes with the family in Washington, but she’s keeping Reese.
(Photos: At left, “Reese” reunites with Dinah Miller and her family; at right, “Harley” when she was a member of the Davis family)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animal shelter, animals, dog, dogs, family, harley, lost, maltese, mesquite, missing, ownership, pets, reese, rescue, returned, reunion, tacoma, texas, washington