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Salem family's puppy is back home after he was stolen from front yard

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:15:45 AM EST
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 08:42:55 PM EDT

Amber White just called the newsroom and told us animal control returned her puppy a little while ago. Oreo was stolen ten days ago.

SALEM, Va. -

Oreo, the blue tick beagle, is back home after he was stolen ten days ago from a Salem family's front yard.

Amber White called the newsroom to tell us that animal control returned her puppy Tuesday.

White says she put the dog outside on a leash at 11:30 while she cleaned up an accident it made inside. When her husband got back a half hour later, they realized the dog was gone.

The family put a big sign up reading "please bring our puppy back" in hopes of finding Oreo, and it paid off.

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A Salem family is confused and frustrated because they say their brand new puppy was stolen right from their front yard.

The dogs owner says she put the Blue Tick Beagle named Oreo outside on a tie out while she cleaned a mess the dog made inside.

That's when the dog disappeared.

It only weighs two and a half pounds, but Oreo's absence is weighing heavily on Amber White and her family.

"The children are hurt, my daughter cries herself to sleep every night," said White.

The Friday night before last, Oreo made a mess in his crate.

White took him outside and put him on his leash tied to a tree while she cleaned up.

That was at 11:30. When her husband got home a half an hour later, "He come in the door and he said hey, where's the puppy and I said he's outside tied to the tree and he's like "No he's not" and I said "Yes, he's gotta be" and sure enough we came out and he's not there," said White.

Immediately, they called Animal Control who came out and made sure the dog was in fact stolen.

"They said that the clasp with the spring and everything was working, all the mechanisms were working correctly, so it wasn't that it was a failure of that. Someone had clearly come into the yard and taken him," said White.

"Given the circumstances behind this case, it very well easily could have been a larceny and that's why we're going to the extent that we are," said Officer Lawrence Stump.

Every Animal Control officer in Salem is on the lookout, and the family has a 4 x 8 foot billboard in the lawn asking to bring Oreo home.

White's family only had Oreo for two weeks before he went missing, the billboard has the neighborhoods attention, now all the family wants is its dog.  

"Even people are stopping and saying 'hey have you got your dog back yet, or what did it look like, we've seen a dog down the street, could it be the same dog?'" White said.

Salem Police say calls where a dog is stolen are exceedingly rare.

They say often times when they get these calls, the dog either ran away or there was some misunderstanding between family members but they do in fact believe this dog was stolen.

Its the same as stealing a piece of property: only difference is, when a dog is stolen, it's a felony.