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Thief walks off with pup at animal shelter

The Animal Rescue Federation has lost a few puppies to burglars over the years, but never to a thief this brazen.

A man who said he was interested in adopting a dog stopped at the Superior shelter Wednesday afternoon. After looking over the assortment, he asked to walk Yale, a young white pit bull.

They never came back.

Shelter director Sheila Love is offering a reward for information that leads Yale's safe return.

"He's a beautiful dog," she said. "With the right owner, he'd be a wonderful family pet."

In fact, said Chris Wagner, community service officer for the Superior Police Department, an adoption had just been approved for the dog.

"We were excited," she said. "He was going to get a home."

Now shelter staff are left to wonder about his fate.

Yale had a rough start in life. He came to the shelter in November after he was rescued from a Superior home. His owner, 17-year-old Raymond Myshack, had kicked him twice and thrown a tire at him, according to a Superior Police Report. Myshack pleaded no contest to the charge of cruelty to animals for the incident, according to court reports available over the Internet.

Despite the abuse, Wagner said, Yale is a sweet, affectionate dog with plenty of personality. She remembered walking past his kennel at ARF.

"He'd be lying on his bed with his little feet sticking up in the air," she said.

The shelter is bursting at the seams with 30 dogs right now, Love said, but each one is given the time it takes to match them with a family.

"It's our goal to make sure they get a good home -- a forever home -- where they can be treated as they should be," she said. "They've already been through so much."

Her worst fear is that the man who took Yale plans to turn him into a fighting dog.

"That potential to be a fighter is there," Love said, although he is not aggressive toward people.

There are a host of smaller points to worry about, as well, such as whether the short-haired dog would be kept indoors, in cold weather, or if he gets along with other animals at the residence.

The man who took Yale is described as a tall, thin white male in his early 20s with dark hair and a shaggy beard. He was wearing an American Eagle blue sweatshirt and skate shoes when he visited ARF.

"I'd really like to catch this guy and press charges," Love said of the thief. But, she said, "My biggest concern is getting the dog back."

The dognapping forced the shelter to change its procedures when someone is interested in adopting an animal. In the past, someone could pick a dog and it or play with a cat, but that will change.

"Everyone's going to have to give a name and show identification," Love said.

The Humane Society of Douglas County, located off of Highway 13, has never had any of its dogs stolen, said Meggan Neve, shelter director. The organization has its own safety procedures when someone comes looking for a dog to adopt.

"Most of the time we will go walking with them," Neve said. That gives the shelter employee time to give the prospective owner information about the animal and judge their compatibility.

Both shelters require regular volunteers to fill out paperwork in order to work with the animals.

To report information about Yale's whereabouts, contact ARF at 394-7387.

Call Maria Lockwood at call (715) 395-5025 or e-mail mlockwood@superiortelegram.com.

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