Updated Fri, Dec 6, 2013 2:50 pm
A local family spent their Thanksgiving frantically searching for a dog they later found out was allegedly taken and sold on the Internet.
Michael Deddens was working that day when he received a call from his stepdaughter, Kasie, saying her dog had gone missing.
The Siberian Huskie, named Roscoe, was a rescue that had been chained outside his Franklin Avenue home during the day. The family went to a dinner to celebrate the holiday, and came back to an empty yard.
"The stake and chain were gone too, and there's no way that stake was taken out without help," Deddens said.
For three days, the family searched the neighborhoods for the dog, and on Dec. 1, a neighbor called saying she thought she had seen the dog with four people on Madison Avenue.
Deddens said he knew the landlord for the property where the people had been seen. The landlord called the man he thought met the Deddens' description, and the man said he had found a dog matching Roscoe's description.
The man also said he had sold the dog on Craigslist. He denied having stolen the dog.
Deddens threatened to call police and pursue legal action, and the man gave up the buyer's phone number, Deddens said.
Andrew Issennagle was on his way back to Columbus with the dog when he received a call from Deddens, explaining the situation.
"My son has always wanted a Siberian Husky, and he showed me the ad on Craigslist, so I was going to get it for him for Christmas," Issennagle said. "I drove up and talked to the person who said he owned it."
The man told him the dog came from a litter of Husky puppies owned by a family member. He talked to a woman, identified as the man's girlfriend, who said the dog's name was Roscoe. They were selling the dog because they were moving and couldn't take the dog with them, Issennagle said he was told.
"It just didn't go along in my head that this could be a stolen dog," Issennagle said.
The man wanted $150, but accepted $125 from Issennagle.
When he received the call from Deddens, Issennagle immediately turned around and headed back toward Athens.
"He said 'I want the police there when I get there,'" Deddens said. "I told him we already had the police involved."
Issennagle also called the Athens Police Department on the way back, and was told there had been a "misunderstanding" in regards to the dog, he said.
Officer Anthony Fish came to the apartment complex and made sure the dog was returned. He also stayed to avoid a confrontation between everyone involved, according to Deddens.
When Issennagle returned with Roscoe, he said he realized what had happened.
"The dog wasn't trying to get away (from the couple that allegedly sold him), but when he saw his owner (Kasie), he just jumped up and I could tell he was her dog," Issennagle said.
When the dog was returned, the man asked if they also wanted the stake and chain he had.
The man gave Issennagle back his money, but Fish told Deddens there wasn't much else to be done.
"The only thing we could prove is that they lied about what was going on," Deddens said. "We couldn't actually prove they'd taken the dog. Unfortunately, you can't prosecute lying."
Neither Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle nor Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly said they have heard of a trend in thefts of this kind in the area. Deddens said he was told by a friend that he had heard of another case of a stolen dog sold on Craigslist, and Kelly said they had recently had a similar report that was referred to detectives, but this was the first he was aware of.
No arrests have been made in any of the cases. The man and woman were not named by the police because no report was filed in the case.
But Deddens said it is important for the community to know "these types of people are living among us."
Issennagle said he has become wary now of what he's buying on the site.
"It's hard to make sure it's not a scam, it really is," Issennagle said.