East Texas family warns of local dognappers after their family pet was found 5 weeks later

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FLINT, Texas (KETK) – This is Dude who was taken by a stranger, but recently found, after he wandered into a random home. The family Dude stumbled upon had luckily seen his missing posters on social media, so they quickly made a call to see if the dog they had was in fact Dude. And happily for Dude’s family, it was.

His family says the day he was taken was earth-shattering for them.

“He means the world to us, we’ve had him since day one, he goes on trips with us, he sleeps with me every night,” said Mason Richardson, his owner.

They say the day he was found, five weeks late, 30 pounds lighter, and nameless, put their world right back together again.

“When I asked him for hugs, he jumped up and gave me the biggest Dude hug and I just lost it and started crying because then you knew then that that was Dude,” said Richardson.

They still can’t believe Dude is home, especially after they say they watched the white van (pictured below) steal him from his own backyard.

“We saw the image of him leaving and you just wanted to reach through that camera, but there was nothing that you could do to stop it and so we weren’t able to pull up the license plate on the van, we have the full image of it, but it wasn’t clear enough to be able to get the plate numbers off of it,” said Richardson . “We did see the people in it and we’ve given that over to police so that they can try to identify the two people that were in the image.”

They believed wallpapering his picture online would get the word out about the dognapper and bring Dude home.

“I think people need to be aware that people will target your dogs, there’s obviously a white minivan or SUV that we’ve seen four or five dogs missing from,” said Heather McCarty, an animal rescuer.

A few other things to keep in mind, chain link fences give predators a front-row seat to when you’re dog might be outside alone, so they suggest staying with your animals.

Nicholas Pet Haven says to remember that when a dog is out on its own for even a short amount of time, their instincts might kick in and they may run from you when you call their name. They say that it’s better to offer to take them home or ask them if they are hungry. They will warm up to comfort words and may be easier to catch and get home to safety.

Dr. Gary Spence at Spence & White Veterinary Hospital, who treated Dude, says a simple microchip procedure will make your animal less desirable to dognappers. Dude was home safe on Thursday and by Monday, he had his chip implanted.

“The best thing to do for your pet nowadays is to chip em’, we put them in the left shoulder, it’s just a microchip that goes up underneath the skin here and it’s that easy,” said Dr. Spence.

If you lost a pet or find someone else’s, go to Nicholas’ Pet Haven’s Lost and Found Page HERE.

The Richardson family asked us to help them say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who shared Dude’s photo and helped get him home.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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