A Utah family on Friday was reunited with their dog — a mini Goldendoodle named Chancho — after the pet was stolen from their campsite in Mission Bay early this month.
The Grillo family was vacationing at Campland by the Bay when Chancho went missing on Aug. 2, San Diego police said. Detectives determined a man nabbed the pet early that morning, and officers recovered the dog when they arrested the 40-year-old suspect this week.
Chancho’s owners had already returned to Utah when they learned he had been located. The family told reporters Friday morning that they dropped everything after getting the news and drove 12 hours to San Diego to bring him home.
Video of the reunion was shared to the Police Department’s Facebook page and shows the family showering Chancho with affection as the youngster furiously wags his tail.
The Grillo family first noticed their dog was missing from the crate outside their tent about 4 a.m. That morning, the family spent hours searching for him. Police said the family found some surveillance footage from the area showing the dog being led away on a leash.
The family asked the San Diego Police Department to help find Chancho, who’s a little more than a year old, and they returned home.
After combing through hours of surveillance footage, detectives zeroed in on a man who entered the Mission Bay park without a dog and left with one on a leash around 2:30 a.m. Police identified the suspect and arrested him in National City on Thursday. He was booked into jail on suspicion of felony theft.
Police didn’t say what the man’s motive may have been, but Goldendoodle’s can cost thousands of dollars.
In the 10 days Chancho was missing, the Grillo family told CBS 8 San Diego that several people got in touch with them about possible leads, but it was never the right dog.
They were “absolutely ecstatic” when police told them Chancho had been found, the family told the station.
Police said there are several steps pet owners can take to keep their animals safe.
- Consider microchipping pets or purchasing a GPS pet tracker that can attach to an animal’s harness or collar.
- Make sure pets wear an ID tag with their owner’s name and address on it.
- Take photographs of pets from various angles, and keep them updated.
- Don’t leave pets unattended or off leash in an unfamiliar area.