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Dog stolen in California found in Sarasota four years later

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A bulldog that went missing in California four years ago was discovered in Sarasota.

After police arrested a burglary duo, they learned the dog had been dragged into a life of crime.

Last month, a number of homes in a wealthy Sarasota neighborhood were burglarized.

The culprits were a man and a woman and a white English bulldog.

That dog eventually gave them away. A neighbor recognized the animal and called 911. Tracie Defee, Michael Paine and Maggie the bulldog were caught red-handed.

“We found her, the male and the bulldog hiding in the bathroom, and then all the items they had stolen hidden in a back bedroom,” said Sarasota Police Sgt. Eric Stafford. “The dog barked at us a little bit, but she was pretty friendly.”

Defee and Paine face numerous charges.

When Animal Services took possession of Maggie, they discovered through her microchip she had been stolen from a California home when she was a puppy in 2015.

“The dog was taken and never heard from again,” said Sgt. Stafford. “We have reason to believe that [Tracie Defee] arrested here is the same lady who took the dog there.”

Officials say she stole Maggie, moved to Florida and introduced her to a life of crime.

But getting Maggie home was not cheap, so Sarasota Police officers footed the bill, raising $800 to transport her home.

“As soon as I put up the email, we raised all the money within 2 days,” said Sgt. Stafford.

The California family does not wish to be identified, but 8 On Your Side spoke to the man who transported Maggie home last week. He said the dog immediately recognized its owner.

“As soon as Maggie saw him, she took off bolting, running to him. She actually ripped the leash out of my hand to get to him faster,” said Todd Grippe with Haulin’ Paws.

It just goes to show no matter how far they’ve gone, a dog is truly loyal to the end.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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