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Community bands together to track down dog-napper, leading to emotional reunion

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 21:33:57-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - 10News witnessed an incredible ending Monday after a beloved pit bull was snatched during a visit to a Shelter Island restaurant.

Late Friday afternoon, dog sitter Maja Wollman brought Mellow, an 8-year-old dog to fiddler's green restaurant on Shelter Island.

She celebrated a family member's birthday on the second floor dining room, and tied up Mellow on the second floor patio.

A fixture at the place since she was born, Mellow had been on the patio countless times.

Less than an hour into the meal, Wollman went out to check on Mellow for a third time and discovered her gone.

Witnesses had seen a man in his 30's playing with the dog.

The dog's disappearance spread quickly, on posters and online. Volunteers even formed search parties.

Then, finally, came a tip: someone recognized who took her.  The reported motive: to turn Mellow into a service dog.

"He called the guy and told him to return the dog because they knew about him," said Wollman.

Still, nobody knew how this would end. A few minutes before we showed up to interview Wollman, the dog was discovered, tied up in the exact location she was taken from.

Soon after, Wollman walked in. "I'm so happy. Just elated.  Neighbors came together and found him," said Wollman, choking back tears.

Mellow's owner, who works on a boat, is due back Monday night. We're told as of now, he's just glad to have his dog back and won't be filing charges.