Second chocolate Labrador retriever reported stolen in Newport recovered by owner

Posted Sept. 30, 2013, at 12:36 p.m.
Two chocolate Labrador retrievers were reported stolen from a pickup truck in Newport Sept. 14. Both dogs were recovered.
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Two chocolate Labrador retrievers were reported stolen from a pickup truck in Newport Sept. 14. Both dogs were recovered.

SANGERVILLE, Maine — The second of two six-month-old chocolate Labrador retrievers allegedly stolen in Newport earlier this month is back home with its owner.

The male dog named Dozer was recovered near a camp in Sangerville Saturday morning, according to Donna Bellace, owner of the two dogs. Bellace has a residence in Parkman, where the female dog, named Raegan, was recovered Sept. 19. The female was brought to her door by a neighbor, Bellace said.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Bellace said from her home in New Jersey late Monday morning. “It feels like a movie or something. It was a horrible two weeks for me.”

Both dogs were allegedly stolen out of a locked kennel in the back of her pickup truck at a Newport gas station near Interstate 95 on the night of Sept. 14. Bellace and her husband had just walked into the store when the theft happened, they reported to police. Their truck was positioned in a way that surveillance cameras at the store did not record the theft.

The woman who found Raegan saw the dog alone in a field and coaxed it to come to her, according to Bellace. The woman, who Bellace did not name, then brought Raegan to Bellace.

Finding Dozer was much more difficult, Bellace said.

Somebody had seen Dozer at a camp in Sangerville, Bellace said. Bellace set out food near the camp for several days and even set up a hunting camera in order to catch her dog.

“Saturday morning was my last chance,” she said, adding that she was heading back to New Jersey the next day. “I saw him, and he flew off the porch into the woods. It took 10 minutes to get him out. He was so happy to see me. He couldn’t believe it was me.”

Bellace theorized that the people who stole her dogs dumped them near where she lived after news of the thefts got out.

“I’m just glad they didn’t hurt them,” said Bellace. “They probably just dumped them to take the heat off.”

A call to the Newport Police Department was not immediately returned Monday.

“This is amazing. I can’t believe I got both of them,” she said. “Everybody was wonderful [in helping find the dogs]. In my town, there were all kinds of people searching for them. I had posters everywhere.”

Bellace had offered a $1,000 reward for the return of her dogs. The woman who returned Raegan declined the reward, Bellace said.

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