One of 2 stolen pit bull puppies back at Rifle shelter

Colt, one of two pit bull puppies stolen from the Rifle Animal Shelter. He has since been located.

The Rifle Animal Shelter is hoping for a similar outcome for a second stolen pit bull puppy after a first one was recovered last week.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department returned a puppy named Colt to the shelter after it was stolen along with another one named Beretta the night of Nov. 5.

“We’re ecstatic,” shelter manager Heather Mullen said. “It gives us hope that we’ll be able to find the other dog and be able to prosecute who did this.”

Mullen said the Sheriff’s Department won’t tell her anything about how the puppy was found, and she knows of no leads in the search for the second animal. The Sheriff’s Department has said little about the case out of fear of compromising the investigation.

Both puppies had been adopted but were awaiting neutering when they were stolen. The recovered puppy was in good condition, and Mullen said it was to go home to its new family Friday.

“They’re ecstatic to have him,” she said.

She said the shelter received a lot of community support, including tips about the possible whereabouts of the puppies and about people similar to the person described as a suspect by authorities.

That suspect is described as a clean-cut, thin male with olive skin, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, and with a bushy hairstyle.

The shelter was vandalized when the puppies were stolen.

The animal shelter is offering a $500 reward for information in the theft, and Garfield County Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest or indictment.

Beretta has a brindle and white head and green eyes, a white-tipped tail and ears that tip straight forward, and was last seen wearing a NASCAR collar.

Anyone with information may contact the shelter at 970-625-8808 or Crime Stoppers at 970-945-0101. Crime Stoppers welcomes and rewards anonymous tips.


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