SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A new surveillance photo was released Saturday of a man suspected of stealing an English Bulldog puppy at a San Marcos doggie daycare.
MariaElena and Michelle Hinojos said their bulldog, Schroeder, was last seen at Dogtopia. They said Schroeder slipped under a fence Wednesday evening at a San Marcos storage facility where he lives with the owners. The man who found the dog then brought it to Dogtopia, where he was later released to an unknown man.
A representative for Dogtopia, which released the new surveillance photo on its Facebook page, told 10News on Saturday that the man showed up after closing and through the door, was able to describe the dog. The employees were comfortable enough with the description that they believed the dog belonged to him.
Dogtopia has also turned over their surveillance video to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
“They didn't take down his name," MariaElena said. "They didn't take down phone number, address, nothing. He was the biggest ball of joy. He was our baby. We're still making payments on it. It hasn't been paid off and now we're just making payments on a dog we don't even have."
Michelle said the couple is trying to piece together the information they have to find their $4,000 dog.
“We're trying to put the puzzle pieces together too," she said. "It's just weird how he's dropped off and 30 minutes later, he's picked up and nobody knows."
Dogtopia manager Emily Adams said they planned to take the dog to the Humane Society until the unknown man came to claim the dog.
“We're doing everything we can to help find this dog,” she said.
Dogtopia client Jim Elliot found news of the dog being handed over disturbing.
“It's disappointing," he said. "I don't know what the company's policy but they should say, 'Here is what you should do if you find a lost dog in the neighborhood.'"
The dog's owners created Facebook page, BRING Schroeder HOME, and filed a report with the San Diego Sheriff's Department and the American Kennel Club (AKC). They're also considering taking legal action against Dogtopia.
On Friday, Dogtopia of San Marcos issued the following statement in light of 10News' story:
"At Dogtopia of San Marcos, our first and foremost priority is always the wellbeing and safety of dogs. We support all of our employees and know our manager acted in what she felt was the best interest of the dog, who was unknown to us and not a Dogtopia client. We continue to provide as much information as we can to assist in the police investigation. Some additional details are at play, which are not related to Dogtopia, and at this time, we want to let the police do their job and cannot speculate or comment further. Thank you."