Michelle Holsapple is holding out hope that her beloved French bulldog Phoebe will once again be scampering around the house and snuggling up close.
Holsapple has a strong suspicion that Phoebe was stolen by someone looking to make some money on the sought-after breed.
On June 6, Holsapple left the house around 11 a.m. with Phoebe content and secured in the backyard. When she returned home around 12:30 p.m., the dog was nowhere to be found. Holsapple lives near Geer Road and Baylor Avenue.
“The gate was closed and there was no evidence that she dug under the fence,” Holsapple said.
Panic for her lost dog really began to set in, when one of Holsapple’s neighbors described what he had seen.
“He said he saw a man putting Phoebe into a black Suburban and then it drove away,” Holsapple said.
The neighbor said it was a middle-aged man and that he was the passenger.
“He said he didn’t think too much about it, because he never thought someone would be stealing a dog,” Holsapple said.
Phoebe came into the Holsapple family just over a year ago as a 12-week-old puppy and quickly became everyone’s darling. Holsapple’s daughters would take her for walks around the neighborhood and play outdoors with her. Phoebe liked to end the nights snuggled up in bed with Holsapple’s 9-year-old daughter.
“She is a part of our family and we just want her back,” Holsapple said. “It’s too quiet here without her nails clicking on the hardwood floor.”
The theft of a dog is not a new crime, but is one that has been growing in recent years, according to the American Kennel Club. The AKC’s most recent statistics estimated about 2 million dogs are stolen each year. It has been called dog flipping because the criminals see a quick way to get cash by stealing the dog and selling it to someone else, who may not know the dog has been stolen. High-value dogs, like French bulldogs, are often targets of these thefts, the AKC reported.
The AKC recommends people report the thefts to a police department and the microchip company if the dog is chipped.
Holsapple has been sharing Phoebe’s picture on social media and scouring sites like Craigslist looking to see if she’s listed for sale.
“I don’t even care if the people get caught,” Holsapple said. “I just want her back.”
There is a reward being offered for Phoebe’s return. Anyone with information on the dog can email Holsapple at firstname.lastname@example.org or take the dog to Canal Veterinary Hospital at 2040 E. Canal Drive in Turlock.