PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is now a substantial reward in the heartbreaking theft of an expensive puppy from the Pennsylvania SPCA. To enter a shelter with the promise of providing a dog with a second chance and a forever home is a selfless, heartwarming act. But that’s not what this was.
“On Friday morning we had a staff member who found a little Shiba Inu puppy running loose in her neighborhood, so she brought it into us to hopefully reunite the puppy with its owner,” said Nicole Wilson, director of PSPCA humane law enforcement.
The puppy was placed in the kennel area at the PSPCA’s Erie Avenue headquarters where owners can easily ID their lost pets.
But the person who appeared just a few hours later didn’t appear to be a relieved owner.
“This individual came straight in, went directly to that puppy’s cage and removed the puppy from the kennel,” Wilson said.
Out of safety for the animals in the event of an emergency, the cages in the kennel area are not locked.
“He had a backpack with him so he stuffed the puppy in the backpack, proceeded to put it on his back and immediately walked out of the facility,” Wilson said.
The stolen puppy is part of the Shiba Inu breed. According to website listings, Shiba Inu puppies are valued between $1,000 and $2,500.
“It’s hard to know whether his motivation was to take the puppy for himself or potentially take this puppy because it’s so valuable and potentially sell it to someone else,” Wilson said.
That suspect was last seen on surveillance video walking toward Whitaker Avenue after 5 p.m. on Friday.
The SPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the puppy’s return and the suspect’s identification.
Wilson could remember one other occasion where a dog was stolen from the kennel. That dog was recovered and the suspect was identified, so she is hopeful that puppy will not be gone for long.