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Kidnapped Pug and Owner Reunite After Five-Month Search

Last week, thanks to a search effort that went viral in her community, Anne Sutherland finally recovered her stolen pug Molly. Never give up!

Anneli Rufus  |  May 3rd 2012


Sometimes it takes a village to solve a crime.

On December 12, in Houston, Texas, Anne Sutherland’s beloved pug, Molly, slipped out of her pug-proof fence. Sutherland’s neighbors watched in horror as someone snatched Molly while the small dog was wriggling through the fence and walked off with her.

After five months of nonstop searching — during which Sutherland reached out to friends, strangers, and everyone else who would help — Molly is home again safe and sound, according to MyFox Houston.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it,” Sutherland told MyFox this week. “I was nearly giving up. I never did give up. Nobody gave up on her.”

As part of her search efforts, Sutherland plastered her Houston Heights neighborhood with lost-dog posters. She reached out on Facebook, posting about her search at the Short Mugs Rescue Squad page, which is dedicated to finding missing pugs.

Her search went viral in the community as strangers began hosting “Find Molly” events outside schools and stores, according to MyFox.

(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

“I know it’s not the same as a person, but I’m extremely close to her. I love her very much,” Sutherland told MyFox Houston during the search. “She’s cute, she’s fun and all that, but she’s my dog, and I need her, frankly. I really need her.”

Since her neighbors said the person they saw stealing Molly was a young woman, Sutherland spread the word at nearby Ronald Reagan High School that she was offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to Molly’s safe return.

Searching for lost pets is not unlike searching for lost people: Two days after a disappearance, the chances of finding the individual alive drops sharply. But Sutherland and her supporters kept their hopes up — for five long months.

“For some reason her pain just reached out to me. She was so upset,” Houston Heights resident Liz Melton told MyFox Houston this week. Last Friday, Melton was out and about when she happened to notice a pug at a certain house, which she was “certain didn’t belong” there. “I e-mailed Anne and gave her the address and said, ‘They don’t have a pug.’ That’s how it happened,” Melton said.

Sutherland drove to the house, which was fifteen blocks from her own. According to MyFox Houston, she asked the resident to see the dog. When the pug was brought outside, Sutherland called out, “Molly, Molly.”

“She literally leapt out of the woman’s arms and climbed up my chest. I never let her go after that,” Sutherland said. The news report added: “The woman told Anne her husband had given her the dog as a Valentine’s Day gift. Anne believes Molly changed hands several times. The dog had lost weight and is being treated for sores in her mouth.

The news story notes that Molly is microchipped, but since nobody took her to be scanned at a vet or animal shelter, she might not have made it home otherwise.

Here’s to a happy reunion. Now let’s all double-check our fences.