Owner Gets Dog Back After Offering $15,000 Reward


Bert Clark would give anything to get his dog back — including a $15,000 reward.

Huckleberry, a 3 1/2-year-old chocolate Lab, went missing last weekend. It was believed Huckleberry was taken when he was outside a cafe.

Clark was so distraught over the disappearance of his dog that he offered a $15,000 reward for the return of his dog.

He not only offered money, but he and his friends and family put up posters all around town to try and find Huckleberry. He sat by the phone waiting to hear word about his missing dog.

On Monday morning, Huckleberry was returned safe and sound. Police had received a tip from the alleged doggy-nappers and the dog was reunited with Clark.

Clark said the $15,000 reward that he offered was definitely not excessive. He stated, “This is a member of my family. I’ve never been in this house alone without him. He and I – it’s our house. My life revolves around him. You know the adage: `A dog is man’s best friend.’ Well, he is my best friend.”

Clark was in Florida when Huckleberry disappeared. The dog walker was looking after Huckleberry when he went missing.

When he got the call about Huckleberry, he flew right back home to Canada. He knew he just had to get his best friend back.

Clark added, “He’s a very gentle and trusting kind of dog with a sense of humor … he is a priority in my life. I plan my day around him.”

In an update, two men face a total of nine charges in Huckleberry’s dognapping.

Police arrested Richard Cassibo, 54, and Andrew Footit, 31 for the alleged theft of Huckleberry after they returned the dog to Clark and collected their $15,000 reward.

Clark gave a $10,000 check to Cassibo when he returned Huckleberry. He allegedly told police that he found the dog tied to a park bench.

Clark also donated $5,000 to an animal hospital at Cassibo’s request.

Cassibo and Fottit are charged with conspiracy, corruptly taking a reward, fraud and possession of property obtained by crime.

Cassibo is also charged with public mischief.

Source: Toronto Star, CBC News

Photo: National Post

(Thanks menusux)

16 Responses to “Owner Gets Dog Back After Offering $15,000 Reward”

  1. Nancy G. says:

    Well I hope this was a lesson for the dog walker– and anyone else– that these days it’s far too dangerous to leave your dog tied up outside while you go in a store for something. If you’re walking someone else’s dog, that is the business you should be attending to, that is your priority. If you simply must have coffee or a snack, take them with you. Glad this turned out ok; there are so many ways it might not have.

  2. Sharon says:

    If the dog is so important to him maybe he should pay someone to care for him or board him when he is gone. To have someone take care of him who would leave him tied outside in the street shows just how caring this owner is. He has money but no brains.

  3. Donna says:

    Use to be when a horse was stolen the punishment was hanging. Perhaps,…..it’s time to revise justice that was effective. May I suggest dog napping crimes punishment bring back real justice. This WOULD really act as a stop point for thiefs. Dog napping is far more prevalent than the American public knows. I have a horse and a rope,…….would be pleased to donate their services.

  4. catmom5 says:

    Perhaps the person who was with the dog WAS a paid dog sitter. I think this man clearly loves his dog and did just what I would have done had this happened to me. I don’t blame him at all. Glad the dog is home and the dognappers are in trouble.

  5. shibadiva says:

    Shannon Howard, the inept dogsitter, should look for another line of work.

    It amazes me that so many people tie their dogs out, right next to traffic, while they do their shopping. I suppose that Bert Clark’s reward, which he can easily afford, will get more low-lifes like Cassibo and Footit thinking they can make a quick $15,000, and if things don’t go so well, the dognapped animal will pay the price.

  6. KAEfamily says:

    It’s great that he cares about his dog so much to offer a large sum of monetary reward. However, wouldn’t that set a dangerous precedence for dognappers to demand for a higher amount in each dognapping case? An average pet owner will not be able to meet and the heartache …

  7. 2CatMom says:

    I’m with CatMom5 - its not the owners fault. This could happen to anyone. You hire someone, they may have impecable references and they screw up. A friend of mine hired a cat sitter from a bonded professional service and later discovered that the sitter was only coming in every other day, instead of every day like she was hired to do. Her cat seemed really stressed out when she came home but didn’t find anything wrong with the cat. And if she hadn’t been lucky (and smart ) enough to ask a neighbor to keep track of the comings and goings of the sitting service the second time she used them, she never would have known.

  8. Kelly says:

    Dognappers arrested and reward is returned to owner.


  9. purplecircle4pets.com says:

    I believe that we need to closely watch our pets , as I am hearing about this more and more. Dogs and cats that are even being abducted from their front lawns, or while sitting in front of a coffee shop.
    These petnappers prey on the unconditional love that we have for our pets, and take advantage of that. I agree that they are “members of the family”, however not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to give such a large reward. I am so happy the dognappers were caught and the dog was returned.

  10. The Lioness says:

    I’m glad Huckleberry was returned safe and sound, too, and that the nappers are going to face charges.

    It’s so scary, traveling and leaving one’s pets behind. So far, we have managed to use friends and family to watch our cats when we travel, but I don’t know if we will be able to continue doing this. Stories like this almost make me not want to travel!

    ~The Lioness

  11. Squeezit says:

    Depends on the dog, really. I leave my dog tied up outside of stores because I trust his judgment. He’s friendly to passers by who want a quick pet, but should the person grab ahold of his leash, he lunges at them (this happened when I was a new dog owner, and the guy ran off FAST)

    I realize not all dogs do that (and chocolate labs?…especially not), but just throwing it out there that not everybody who ties out a dog during errands is an incompetent monster.

  12. shibadiva says:

    The two teenagers in the case have just turned themselves in. It was just a matter of time, since their identities were known.


    They’re being charged with theft under $5,000.

    Squeezit, you are one of the lucky ones, with a dog that knows what to do. You could be right that Huck is just a happy guy that would go off with anyone.

    Shannon apparently freaked out after she finished sipping her latte at Le Petit Gourmet and discovered that Huck was gone. She had no idea. Obviously, she wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to what was happening outside while she was gone for “five minutes”. Petit Gourmet has a huge window at the front, right beside the pastry counter and cash, and if she’d just ordered a coffee to go, she could have kept an eye on the dog.

    I hope she doesn’t move on to babysitting.

  13. Denise says:

    Hi everyone, I can tell we have some wonderful people here. these days you can’t really tie and leave your dog anywhere. I live in michigan , west of the detroit area, a lady was telling me her little dog was in her yard and a van pulled up to the end of the driveway. The driver stayed on the road and the man tried to steel her dog right out of the gate. they use these dogs as bait for traning pit bulls for fighting in Detroit can you imagine. also last summer a lady was in walmart and a white van also pulled up and stole her Bichon right out of her locked car. the window was cracked. she never got the dog back and the cameras could not get the license plate number of the van. I never leave my pup in the car , If I have to make a stop and she is with me I take her home first. Be carful everyone some people are not so nice. Denise

  14. G in INdiana says:

    Squeezit, you could be opening up yourself to a big lawsuit and a death sentence for your dog if he lunges at the wrong person.

  15. Linda's Cats says:

    while there are always exceptions to every rule, and we all walk out into teh world risking our health and safety - i think you have to accept that in most places, some things are more (or less depending on the area) safe.

    I know most of the people in Boulder literally *live* with thier dogs. so much so it’s a pain to me (i’m a teacher at the university, and having dogs in my class is bothersome, as i think some people could be allergic or afraid of dogs). When you are that close to your dog, you decide where it’s safe, where its not safe to leave your dog. and we’ve had 1 dog napping in some 2 years that i know of.

    It’s all about calculated risks, i guess. i just get annoyed with anyone who thinks the doggie parents are to blame, instead of the theifs. we make decisions - sometimes unwise ones… but it doesn’t make us bad parents to our pets. how many times has this same person left his dog SAFELY at a store. 100 times? 1000 times?

    That there are bad people out there does not mean a person is a bad parent for talking what he or she thinks is a safe measure.

  16. Hanna says:

    Doesn’t anyone think it odd that the people who allegedly stole the dog and took the reward asked that 1/3 of it go to an animal hospital?

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