Crime

Video captures man stealing pup from Santa Maria Animal Shelter

$3,000 reward being offered to catch thief

Video catches man stealing pup from...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Authorities are searching for a man they say stole a 7-month-old dog from the Santa Maria Animal Shelter on April 13.

"We are all worried here, we just want Riley," says Karla Bueno, an Animal Welfare Specialist at the Santa Maria Animal Shelter. 

Surveillance video posted to the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Facebook page shows a man wearing a white t-shirt, blue jacket, jeans and a Realtree baseball hat, stealing, Riley, a 7-month-old gray and white pit bull pup.

Scroll to the end of this story to view the surveillance video.

"He's such a fun-loving dog, he's super wiggly and super friendly," says Bueno. She says Riley came to the shelter a few weeks ago and he was up for adoption. 

Like all dogs that are at the shelter staff there grew attached to him. 

"I was like oh my goodness how can someone do this, how can someone take a dog and do this," says Bueno. She's worked with Riley various times. 

Cameras placed all throughout the shelter caught the thief walking through the adoption courtyard before he takes Riley and storms off. 

It then shows him walking to the back of the shelter where he throws Riley over a 7-foot fence. He then is seen running trying to chase after Riley before heading to where staff believes he parked his car.

"Something horrible could have happened we don't know the condition of Riley right now we want to make sure he's okay," says Bueno. 

Since Riley's arrival at the shelter staff like Bueno have created a bond with him. She says what's most concerning is he could have been hurt after being thrown over the fence. 

"It's sad, it can be really sad, because I pass by his kennel and he's not there. I see his paperwork and he's not there," she says. 

Adoption kennels, like the one Riley was kept in, are not under lock and key. The suspect was able to come inside, open it up, and take Riley.  

"We may be looking at a way to secure the perimeter a bit better," says Jan Glick, Animal Services Director.  She's hoping Riley will soon be reunited with everyone at the shelter. 

"It's upsetting to us because we don't know his status, how he's being cared for," she says. 

Davey's Voice, a non-profit organization that fights against animal abuse is offering a $3,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the suspect. 

Anyone who sees Riley or knows of the suspect's whereabouts is asked to call the Santa Maria Police Department immediately at 805-928-3781.


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