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Tearful Toronto Senior Reunited With His Stolen Dog (With Important Update)

2-18-11 Note - Important update below It began innocently enough. On Friday evening, retired engineer John Hildon, 84, was walking his beloved Bichon Frise, Goldie,...

Maria Goodavage  |  Feb 14th 2011


2-18-11 Note – Important update below

It began innocently enough. On Friday evening, retired engineer John Hildon, 84, was walking his beloved Bichon Frise, Goldie, when a stranger approached him.

This guy … looked down (at the dog) and said, Whose dog is this? And I said, I dont know, jokingly. So, this guy grabs the dog,” Hildon told the Toronto Sun.

The suspect ran across the street and onto a bus with the 8-year-old dog. A distraught Hildon thought he’d never see Goldie again. He spent 24 hours worrying and mourning before he got the great news: The detectives assigned to the case used bus cameras to track down the suspect, and were able to get Goldie back. (Wow, talk about a needle in a haystack!) On Saturday night, they brought Goldie home.

It was one of the happiest moments of my life, Hildon told the Sun with tears in his eyes. When I saw the (police) coming to the door with him I couldnt believe it.

Goldie dined on a pork chop dinner that night, and lots of love and affection from Hildon.

Hildon says he won’t change his routine, and will continue walking Goldie on the same route. Only this time he’ll keep him on a leash. (I guess Goldie had been of the obedient leashless variety.) The suspect, 36, has been charged with theft and possession of stolen property. Too bad “breaking the heart of an old man” can’t be one of the charges…

Update: Dogster reader Liliane Thomas has alerted us to a new element that came out after the initial story about the dognapping. The accused, a web designer and father of three, says he thought the dog was a stray, because Hildon said it wasn’t his dog. When a local woman saw his story in the Toronto Sun, she came forward saying she has seen Hildon very far away from his Goldie, whose leash drags behind the dog. Apparently the dog looks stray. Click on the Toronto Sun link for the story from the accused. I’m also pasting it below. Use this other Toronto Sun link or go to Liliane’s comment below to read what the woman has to say.

From the Toronto Sun:

A Toronto man says hes having a dog of a time trying to figure out why police charged him in an alleged canine theft case in the citys east end.

Sean Dunkley showed up at the Sun newsroom Monday to tell his side of the story after the dognapping case hes charged in connection with was featured on the front page of Mondays Toronto Sun.

Do you think this is a joke some kind of sick joke this guy is playing on me? Dunkley asked. Now Ive got (the story) on the front page of the Sun and people think Im a dognapper.

The incident centres around the weekend disappearance and subsequent return of a Toronto seniors dog.

John Hildon, 84, said he was taking Goldie, his eight-year old Bichon Frise, for a walk at around 8:15 p.m. Friday.

Hildon said he let go of Goldies leash when they approached the intersection of Victoria Park Ave. and Ellesmere Rd. as there was a large crowd of people waiting to board a bus.

This guy…looked down (at the dog) and said, Whos dog is this? and I said, I dont know, jokingly. So, this guy grabs the dog, Hildon said Sunday.

Dunkley admitted to being the guy who grabbed the dog and corroborated Hildons story about asking who Goldie belonged to.

I see a dog walking down the street; its got a long blue leash and theres an old man behind the dog, Dunkley said. I go, Is this your dog? and he goes, No, and then he just walks off and leaves me with the dog.

Dunkley said the man continued to walk and left Goldie with Dunkley, so he boarded his bus home with the dog in tow.

They returned to Dunkleys condo just after 10 p.m. where he said he fed the dog, bathed it and then went to bed.

After working all day Saturday Dunkley, a web designer and father of three, said he returned home with his 10-year old daughter around 8 p.m. to find eight cops standing outside his condo.

After explaining his side of the story about how he ended up with Goldie, the police issued Dunkley a citation for theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property.

Dunkley said that while two officers questioned him in the foyer of his condo another officer was wandering through the property.

At no time was he told he was under arrest or read his rights, according to Dunkley.

Dunkley filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Monday.

Dunkley said he is being made out as a criminal when he was simply trying to be a Good Samaritan.

He admitted to running afoul of the law in the past, including for domestic violence, but insisted he was just trying to do the right thing.

In an interview Sunday, Hildon told the Sun the person who took Goldie was a white male. Dunkley is black.