Aug. 2—When Stephanie Malmstrom of Baytown received a phone call Monday from a Borger, Texas, animal control officer saying he had found her dog, stolen four years ago, she was in disbelief.
“My initial thought was, “OK. Yeah right. Let me guess, I won a cruise and a million dollars also’,” she posted on her Facebook page.
The officer found Malmstrom’s dog — 6-year-old German Shepherd Sheba — in an alleyway early Monday morning while on a routine patrol, according to Borger’s Public Engagement Coordinator Diedra Thomas.
“When he saw her in an alley, he got out and loaded her up,” Thomas said, adding the dog was very friendly. “She was just out there wandering around.”
Once the officer was back at the city’s animal shelter, he checked to see if the dog had a microchip and found the dog’s owners had reported her stolen in 2018 in the midst of a number of dog snatching incidents in Baytown, authorities said. The officer then contacted Malmstrom, who confirmed the dog was hers.
Sheba had initially gone missing the evening of Jan. 6, 2018, after a suspect in a white Ford truck took the dog from Malmstrom’s home, according to a lost dog flyer from the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. The family, local animal advocates and Chambers County Crime Stoppers initially gathered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the Sheba’s safe return.
It is unclear how the dog made it to Borger, which is over 600 miles from Baytown, Thomas said.
“It makes you wonder, who knows if the person who stole her dumped her here. There’s really no way to tell because of the distance between there and here.”
Malstrom hopes Sheba, who was two years old at the time of the theft, will recognize the family.
“She’s aged a bit but we’re hopeful she will remember all of us and coming running into our arms.”
City officials are working with Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transporting rescued animals, to reunite the dog with Malmstrom and her family in the coming days, according to Thomas.
“They are basically going to fly the animal back to its owner. I don’t know if it will be today or tomorrow but it will be shortly.”
Malmstrom hopes her family’s story encourages other pet owners to microchip their pets.
“We had flagged her chip as stolen immediately after she was taken and the officer assured me the dog would not be released to anyone other than our family or organizations working toward getting her home,” she said. “If you take anything from this story please microchip your animals.”
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