PARKMAN, Maine — One of the two chocolate Labrador retrievers allegedly stolen out of the back of a pickup truck in Newport last weekend has been returned to its owner.
Raegan, a 68-pound female dog, was returned to Donna Bellace at her Parkman residence by a woman on Thursday night, Bellace said on Friday morning.
“She asked me if I’m Donna and if this is my dog. I said, ‘Yeah.’ At least we got one back,” Bellace said.
The woman, whom Bellace did not name, saw the dog alone in a field and coaxed it to come to her. The male dog, Dozer, was not with the female dog.
“We think [the person who stole the dogs] dumped her to get some of the heat off,” Bellace said.
On the night of Sept. 14, Bellace and her husband told police they were fueling their pickup truck at a Shell station on Moosehead Trail near Interstate 95 in Newport, according to Newport Police Chief Leonard Macdaid.
The couple had two 6-month-old chocolate Labrador retrievers in a kennel in the back of the truck.
“They filled up the truck and both got out of the truck and went into the store,” Macdaid said earlier this week. “When they came out, the dogs were gone.”
“They pulled them out of our dog box in the back of the truck. It was locked,” Bellace said on Monday.
The woman who returned Raegan declined to take a $1,000 reward, according to Bellace.
“I tried to give it to her, but she wouldn’t take it,” said Bellace. “She said she was a dog lover.”
Raegan was “perfectly healthy,” she said.
“I’m just glad she’s back,” Bellace said. “I can’t believe we got one back.”
Macdaid said on Friday that the dog was recovered in Parkman, near the same neighborhood where the Bellaces reside. Parkman is more than 20 miles from Newport.
The $1,000 reward for the safe return of Dozer, the 90-pound lab, is still being offered, Bellace said.
Anyone with information about the dogs or the theft should call the Newport Police Department at 368-3263. Bellace can be reached at 609-338-7294.