Family finds missing dog online only to discover he's been adopted out

Family says dog stolen from backyard then adopted

STARK COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - After searching for their dog for more than two years, a Stark County family said they finally thought they caught a break, only to discover their beloved dog had been adopted out to another family.

"He was like my kid," said April Holbrook.

Holbrook couldn't hold back tears Monday evening as she flipped through pictures and spoke about her former dog, Chopper.

"That's all I have now are pictures," she said. "He's a good dog. I just want to bring him home."

Holbrook said two years ago someone stole the then 3-year-old Pitbull out of her yard.

"They had told me that they saw someone let him off his lead," she said.

Holbrook said, for months, she searched nearby humane societies, trolled Facebook groups and kept in touch with Stark County's Animal Control. It wasn't until two weeks ago that she got her first real lead. Someone sent Holbrook a picture of Chopper, now named Blue, who was recently at the Humane Society of Summit County.

"When the lady sent me that picture, the hairs on my arms stood up. I knew (it was him)," she said.

However, Humane Society of Summit County President and CEO Diane Johnson said it isn't that simple.

"This dog didn't have any tags and he wasn't microchipped, so there's no way for us to know for sure that this is even the same dog," Johnson said.

Someone adopted Blue from the Humane Society of Summit County in January after, Johnson said, an owner surrendered the dog in the fall. Because of that, the humane society won't tell Holbrook where the dog is or who he's with.

"While we feel very sad for the family that thinks that could've been their dog from two years ago, it is a happy ending for this dog to be with a nice, stable family who loves him dearly," Johnson said.

Although Holbrook said the picture of the happy pup gives her peace of mind, she said she'd do anything to get Chopper back.

"I know whoever has him probably loves him. He was a one of a kind dog, but he's my dog," she said.

Holbrook said if the family who adopted the dog is willing to give him back to her family, she'd reimburse them for adoption and vet costs.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society of Summit County said this is a good reminder to always make sure your dog has identification, including a microchip, because that is one of the first things they look for when a dog comes through their doors.

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