Stolen Shelter Dog Found Dead as Sheriff's Office Launches Probe

An American bully that was one of three stolen from a Missouri animal shelter over the weekend was found dead Tuesday.

Midwest Animal ResQ in Raytown, a suburb of Kansas City, is currently working with the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office and Raytown Police to find the culprits and is offering a $5,000 reward for the safe return of the two remaining dogs.

The rescue shared the tragic news of the death in a social media post, describing it as "heartbreaking."

"Many have asked for an update on this case. Unfortunately the only update I have is heartbreaking. The female dog was found deceased in Leavenworth County last night. We are offering a $5000 reward for the safe return of the two remaining dogs, no questions asked. These dogs are truly in danger, and someone must know their whereabouts," wrote the shelter.

Dog story
In this combination image, an inset of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office badge and a stock image of a dog. A stolen American bully, one of three stolen from a Missouri animal shelter over the weekend, was found dead Tuesday. iStock / Getty Images / Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office

The American bullies were taken from the shelter Saturday morning. CCTV footage caught two suspects breaking into the building.

Many dogs are stolen each year; the number is hard to pinpoint, but according to reports, that number sits around 2 million. What makes the Raytown case even more troubling is that two of the stolen dogs suffer medical issues which they need care for following recent surgeries, though it's unclear if these are both the two remaining dogs.

Surveillance footage showed the robbers removing the surgical cones from the dogs during the theft.

"These dogs need medical care if they rip their stitches open," Erin Morse, founding director of the shelter, told 41 KSHB. "It makes me concerned about their welfare and well-being, it makes me concerned about retaliation for our staff, concerned that it can happen again. You know the brazenness of it is just astounding to me."

"You can't help but feel like it's my responsibility in some way because you know they are under my care. I'm the steward of these animals," she added. "Makes me upset just thinking about it."

They currently have no leads but the shelter is interested in three people who showed interest in the dogs days prior to the theft. According to reports, they drove a white Hummer, which was the same car the thieves drove.

The shelter was also left damaged by the break-in, with the door and door frame needing replacement. Off-duty officers visited to help repair the shelter's fence, but the shelter is now relying on the donations of good Samaritans to help.

Newsweek has contacted Midwest Animal ResQ for comment.