Second stolen pit bull pup found at Mesa County home

The Rifle Animal Shelter manager said she’s surprised and elated that the second of two stolen pit bull puppies has been returned two months after its disappearance.

The dog, named Beretta, was found Jan. 15 at a Mesa County home after someone noticed it matched the missing dog’s description, Heather Mullen said.

“I did not expect to get him back. I kind of came to acceptance that he wasn’t coming back,” Mullen said.

She said the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department has not given any further information about the circumstances behind the dog’s discovery.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said Friday an investigation into the case continues, and no arrests have been made.

Beretta and a second puppy, Colt, were taken from the shelter during a break-in Nov. 5. The Sheriff’s Department returned Colt to the shelter within a week but didn’t elaborate on how the dog was found because of the ongoing investigation.

Mullen said Beretta is in good health and has grown to be about 35 or 40 pounds. The dog had the remnants of purple dye on the white portions of its fur, from an attempt to disguise its looks, she said.

Mullen said she feared the puppies might have been stolen by someone who planned to use them for fighting, and she is relieved both were found unharmed. She remains baffled about why someone would steal the animals, and she thinks the person or persons involved may simply have been unable to pay the adoption fee or wanted those specific puppies even though homes already had been found for them.

Colt is now with a Vail family who had adopted the puppy before it was stolen. Mullen has not been able to reach the family that originally planned to adopt Beretta.

She said a New Castle family may now adopt him, but the shelter is taking backup applications.

She said appreciates the efforts that went into finding the puppies, including by the alert person who spotted Beretta.

“The community support was very awesome, and we thank Garfield County for sticking to it and helping solve this case and get him back,” she said.


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