Service Dog Puppies-in-Training Are Stolen, Then Found

While most of the pups have made their way home, two are still missing and the suspects are at large.

Michael Leaverton  |  Aug 19th 2013

Last week, a hearing-impaired woman breeding service dogs for the disabled was in the parking lot Highland Park animal hospital. She had just put her six American Bulldog puppies in the car — the offspring of her own service dog Kyliee — and she ran back in to pay her bill. That’s when two men snuck up to the car and made off with the dogs.

“All kinds of horrible thoughts kept coming to my mind,” Ryan Fingerle told “They are innocent and helpless little beings.” A security cam caught the men stealing the dogs in the parking lot, but they are still at large.

Fingerle contacted the authorities and tried to comfort her service dog Kyliee, who “moped” around the house looking for her pups.

“Of course, grief was the first thing I felt, overwhelming grief,” Fingerle said. “Without their mother’s milk, they have very little immunity and cannot fight off any illness or injuries.”

Fortunately, Kyliee was back on mothering duty soon enough. On Aug. 10, Fingerle got a call that three of the six pups had been found — someone had seen an unidentified person throwing them over a fence. They turned out to be Zorro, Xena, and Red Shadow.

“When I first got the call, I was terrified that the puppies would not be the right ones. I was so afraid of getting my hopes up,” she said. “But when I saw them, I just ran forward crying and blubbering, and just wanted to hold them and never let go.”

Then, a few days later, a skinny Hercules, with his ribs showing, turned up in a cardboard box in Huntington Park.

“I’m so happy to have them back,” Fingerle told KTLA. “I just want to say thank you, thank you, everyone, for your help.”

The last two dogs, Trident and Davy Jones, are still missing. Police ask that anyone with information to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 323-344-5757. Those who wished to remain anonymous were asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

“Thank you to the community for their help in recovering the four puppies,” Fingerle said. “Kyliee, the mother of the puppies, is very happy and is now in a calm state of mind.”

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