Welcome back Schroeder! Stolen English bulldog returned

Reporter Preston Phillips has been talking to the family - watch 10News to see their reaction.

A 5-month-old English bulldog at the center of a mix-up at a doggie daycare that landed the puppy in someone else's hands is now back with its owners.

According to the San Diego Sheriff's Department, a man brought the dog to its owners Thursday afternoon.

Schroeder was sticky, caked in dirt and covered in fleas. He was also dehydrated and suffering from diarrhea. After a full checkup by a veterinarian, though, he was given a clean bill of health and sent home.

Police did not say much about the man who reunited the dog with his owners, only that he was an "anonymous male" and that they were still investigating the case.

The dog's owners, however, said the man was a friend of the suspect seen in surveillance video from the doggie daycare. They say he told them this was all a case of mistaken identity - that his friend was really just picking up his own bulldog.

The sheriff's department finds that suspicious and is looking into that claim. The dog's owners do want to press charges.

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to contact the San Marcos Sheriff's Department at (760) 510-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

The Back Story

MariaElena and Michelle Hinojos said their bulldog, Schroeder, was last seen at Dogtopia. They said Schroeder slipped under a fence a week ago 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.

That didn't sit well with the dog's real owners.

“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."

Dogtopia manager Emily Adams said they had planned to take the dog to the Humane Society until the unknown man came to claim the dog.

The dog's owners created a Facebook page -- BRING Schroeder HOME -- and filed a report with the San Diego Sheriff's Department and the American Kennel Club (AKC). They were also considering taking legal action against Dogtopia.

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