Family searches for lost puppy, sold on Facebook

NOW: Family searches for lost puppy, sold on Facebook

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— On Jan. 22, Byron Orvis’s dog Chunky gave birth to a litter of puppies.

“I actually helped give birth to the actual puppy,” Orvis said.

Orvis gave away the litter, except for one puppy, which formed a bond with his two sons, Joseph and Santiago.

“The dog used to take naps with them, wherever the kids went, the dog would follow them,” Orvis said.

The boys named the puppy, who is a mix of Rott, Lab, and Husky, according to Orvis, “Merica.”

“He was like part of the family, that’s one of the best ways I could put it,” Orvis said.

But then one day, Merica somehow slipped outside.

“I came home on Monday, while I was pushing back his mom and his older brother, he must’ve slipped through underneath my legs, you know, we didn’t even notice it,” Orvis said.

Within an hour, they knew there was a problem.

"When we were sitting down, eating breakfast together as a family, we noticed he wasn’t at our feet, looking for food, scrounging around,” he said.

The whole family started frantically searching, Orvis said, and he made a post on Facebook, along with reporting the dog missing with the South Bend Animal Resource Center (SBARC).

“A couple hours later, I started getting notifications on my phone, like, ‘hey, someone found your dog.’ they posted it on the Mishawaka lost pets page,” Orvis said.

But after reaching out to the person who posted photos of what looked like Merica, they replied saying they sold the dog to someone else for $150. That person also asks for $50 to get the dog back, which Orvis refuses. That’s when the person then told Orvis he actually never saw the dog.

“He is completely refusing to return the dog at this point,” he said. “We’re sad, we’re mad, we’re worried. At this point, we’re extremely worried. We have no idea what condition our dog is in, you know, I hate to say it, we don’t even know if our dog is alive at this point.”

The South Bend Police say there’s not much they can do, they would have to prove Orvis owns Merica, and they would have to prove this other person who allegedly sold Merica intentionally stole the dog.

“The puppy did not get microchipped,” Orvis said. “He was so young; we just didn’t get to it yet. We obviously regret not doing it sooner, obviously we didn’t know we could even have him microchipped that young.”

Lindsey Cueller at SBARC said new puppies should get microchipped at about three months old.

“You haven’t gotten a chance to get it microchipped to you or get that information transferred over to you, you haven’t gotten a chance to take it over to the vet, take any pictures of the animal in your house, it’s really hard to say that ‘I did buy this animal, I did bring in this animal, adopt this animal',” Cueller said.

Orvis said he hopes by getting the word out, those who know where Merica is may change their mind and return him to his family.

The South Bend Animal Resource Center and the St. Joseph County Humane Society will both have free microchipping clinics for the public April 20.

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