Police recover puppy stolen from Kennebunk shelter, charges against alleged dognappers likely

Posted May 02, 2013, at 11:14 a.m.
Sanford Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas and Animal Welfare Society Executive Director Steve Jacobsen celebrate the return of a stolen puppy to the society's Kennebunk facility last week.
Courtesy of | York County Coast Star
Sanford Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas and Animal Welfare Society Executive Director Steve Jacobsen celebrate the return of a stolen puppy to the society's Kennebunk facility last week.
Walton, a mixed breed puppy, was allegedly stolen from the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk in late April and returned about a week later after police found the dog and his alleged kidnappers.
Courtesy of | York County Coast Star
Walton, a mixed breed puppy, was allegedly stolen from the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk in late April and returned about a week later after police found the dog and his alleged kidnappers.

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Walton, the 4-month-old mixed-breed puppy officials say was stolen from the Animal Welfare Society on April 21 was later returned to the shelter hungry but healthy.

AWS Executive Director Steve Jacobsen said the puppy was found in Sanford by Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas, who returned him to the shelter Friday morning.

“We were ecstatic,” Jacobsen said. “This shows the power of police work.”

Jacobsen said Masellas went above and beyond in her attempts to locate Walton, finally tracking him to a home in Sanford and the people who allegedly stole him. They will be prosecuted, he said.

Walton was discovered to be missing from the Holland Road shelter early Sunday afternoon, following a busy spring weekend of visitors. The pup was in the shelter’s quarantine section and was not up for adoption. While a shelter worker later recalled seeing a woman walking Walton, no one had a clue who could have taken him.

Jacobsen said that’s where Masellas stepped in, spending the week tracking down leads and ultimately returning the puppy to the shelter.

“We’re relieved and happy he’s back,” Jacobsen said, adding that the shelter workers were concerned that he seemed to be unusually hungry, devouring two bowls of food upon his return.

Jacobsen said Walton won’t be put up for adoption for a couple of weeks as a result of his adventure. And the shelter is looking at its security policies as a result of the alleged pup-napping.

“You always take a look in the mirror after something like this,” he said.

Still, he said, the shelter will ensure that prospective adopters get “hands on the fur” as they always have. That was especially true last weekend, when the shelter offered many of the dogs 7 months old and older for just a $99 adoption fee.

It was all a part of celebrating Walton’s return.

“This was a nice way to start the weekend,” Jacobsen said.

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