A Pasco County, Florida, family was heartbroken after their dog, Dom, was stolen from their front yard.
Joe Wilkins had pets before but never bonded with them the way he did with Dom, who was given to the Wilkins as a Christmas gift.
“I immediately felt violated,” Jennifer Wilkins said. “When they left his collar here and took him — it’s the worst feeling in the world. And not knowing if we’d ever get him back, you lost a little bit of hope every single day.”
Furious, Joe posted on Facebook about his missing friend.
“I made a post and just typed my feelings, and that post just kind of went crazy from there,” Joe said. In fact, the post got about 160,000 shares.
Jennifer and Joe began to get hundreds of messages and phone calls afterward. Some people said they had Dom and were demanding a monetary award, but they were just scammers. Eventually, the thieves who actually had Dom did call.
“I couldn’t breath,” Jennifer said. “I just lost it. I knew he was coming home. It was a rush of emotion.”
The couple believes that Dom was stolen to be used in a dog fighting ring. His microchip had been removed, and the thieves attempted to dye his fur to change his identity. The Wilkins also believe the dog was returned because their post went so viral.
“The reason we were called is because they couldn’t do anything with him at that point,” Jennifer said. “We had made it so well-known. His face was everywhere. I don’t believe they could’ve sold him.”
Dom has a scar on his neck now, and a vet gave him a round of antibiotics. Fortunately, he’ll be OK otherwise.
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Footage provided by WFTS Tampa
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