19 February 2008

$15,000 Reward for Found Dog

A Toronto man has been happily reunited with his best friend after paying a $15,000 reward he promised for the safe return of his dog, Huckleberry. The three-year-old chocolate Labrador was returned to Bert Clark, 37, late Sunday night after mysteriously disappearing Saturday morning.

Mr. Clark feared Huckleberry -- named after Huckleberry Finn -- had been dognapped after he disappeared from outside a Yonge Street bakery early Saturday. Shannon Howard, Huckleberry's walker, had stepped inside for about five minutes, leaving him tied securely to a pipe. When she returned, the 39-kilogram dog was missing.

When he heard the news on Saturday, Mr. Clark quickly returned from a trip to Florida to lead a campaign to find his dog. Friends and family helped post 600 posters around the city, promising a $15,000 reward for Huckleberry's safe return. A large colour advertisement in a Toronto newspaper, with a value of between $6,000 and $9,000, was taken out offering to pay the reward with "no questions asked."

Police say Mr. Clark received a phone call on Sunday about his dog and arranged to meet the callers at the police station for his safety. "When he's offering a reward, there are considerations for his safety. That is a substantial amount of money," Det. Rob Ermacora said. The $15,000 reward was paid as promised.

Richard Cassibo, the man who met Mr. Clark at the police station to return Huckleberry, said his two children found the dog tied to a park bench, shivering. He told Global News he didn't trust the humane society, and had planned on putting up flyers to find the owner. When asked why he accepted the reward instead of refusing the money, he said, "because I can use it."

Det. Ermacora said the case is still under investigation. He did not know whether the individuals who returned Huckleberry were the alleged dognappers. "They may be a third or fourth party who know who took the dog." But he said criminal charges are unlikely. "More than likely this will be the end of it because it will be difficult to prove who actually took the dog. Nobody actually saw anyone take the dog."

What would you be willing to do/pay if your dog went missing?

[Source: OttawaCitizen.com]