It was a crime of opportunity that would chill the blood of any dog lover.
On Wednesday afternoon, professional dog trainer Tony Carter parked his van in front of an In-N-Out in Redding, left the new air conditioning unit on and ran inside to place a quick order.
In just a matter of minutes, police say, a thief jumped into Carter’s van and sped off, taking 15 caged dogs bound for the Woofstock Dog Show in Northern California.
““!!!!!!! PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!!” Carter pleaded on Facebook, where he and others offered a $12,000 reward for the safe return of the animals.
Then on Thursday, about 24 hours after they were stolen, the dogs were found, authorities announced.
A California Highway Patrol officer flying over the area spotted the white van on a dirt patch surrounded by tall pines south of Canyon Road and west of California 273.
The windows were closed and the vehicle was parked in the hot sun. The CHP officer called in help on the ground.
“Officers broke a window to gain access to the dogs who were all barking and eager to be rescued,” Redding police announced on Facebook. “They were taken to Haven Humane to receive veterinary services, food, water, and loves. The dogs had high heart rates from heat and stress, were thirsty, hungry, and in need of affection, but were otherwise fine.”
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
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