Monday afternoon the SPCA was open for adoptions like normal. About an hour after we opened we noticed "Rowan" a 2-month-old Labrador Retriever mix puppy was missing from his area. We stopped everything and staff did a massive building search for the puppy. It was after searching high and low, that it was clear, the puppy had been stolen.
The staff immediately alerted the Garner Police Department, and a police report was filed.
3:30pm - A shot in the dark.
After the police report had been filed the SPCA asked the pet-loving community on social media for help. It was a shot in the dark, we needed to spread the word. A photo of the puppy, a description and microchip number were posted on Facebook and Twitter. Within an hour the post had over 500 shares.
As the evening news aired, the story was featured on Raleigh's News & Observer's website, as well as aired on two local news channels. At this time the social media posts had over 1,000 shares. By the end of night, the social media post had gone viral, and had reached over 239,300 people.
Around 9:00pm a staff member was leaving the SPCA parking lot after a late meeting. She saw a truck that matched the description of the one driven by the suspect entering the parking lot. The suspect pulled a U-turn, stopped the truck, and quickly removed the puppy from his car (in a carrier) and sped off into the dark. The staff member jumped out of the car, grabbed the carrier and returned the puppy to the safety of the SPCA.
Rowan was safe in his puppy tub once again at the SPCA!
We don't know what caused the suspect to return the puppy. Did he/she see the story that evening on the news? Was it because of the community's spread of the message on social media? A guilty conscience? All we know is that Rowan is safe and sound, and is ready to go home to his adopter this afternoon!
A special thanks to the community for their help in spreading the word to help bring Rowan back. And an extra special thanks to the Garner Police Department for their assistance in this case!