It was just a normal day for Tial Terrazas.
On October 27th,she was coming home from work.
When she went to go check on her border collie, Mika, she realized Mika was gone.
“I freaked out,” says Terrazas. “I was asking my husband a lot of questions, like: why wasn’t he checking on the dogs?”
Mika had escaped through a hole in the fence of the backyard, which is now temporarily boarded up.
Since she lives on a busy street, Tial was afraid for Mika’s safety.
Terrazas walked up and around her neighborhood searching for her lost dog.
“I keep walking, and walking, and walking,” says Terrazas. “[At] the next block, I made a right, made another right, and made another right.”
Then, Terrazas posted pictures of Mika on Pawboost Alert on Facebook.
Within hours, it was shared hundreds of times and a tip came in.
“The [Winnebago] Animal Clinic called, and [a worker] told me that somebody brought her there during the day and he took her home with him.”
Terrazas contacted the person through text message, first explaining who she is and how Mika looks.
She even sent pictures to show that indeed the dog was hers.
He confirmed he did have Mika, but when she asked him for his address he stopped responding.
“I messaged him so many times even after that trying to be so nice,” says Terrazas. “I messaged him [saying] if he returned my dog, I’m not going to press any charges.”
People keeping pets they find on the street isn’t a new phenomenon.
Care for Pets executive director, Stephanie Hicks, says it’s a common occurrence.
“Sometimes, it’s that they may feel like, well, they’re not a good owner because their pet got loose,” says Hicks. “In reality, accidents happen. They happen frequently. It could be a desirable pet, that they just want to keep for themeselves.”
The man who took Mika insisted that the dog ran away from his house, which wasn’t true, and could have resulted in charges against him, according to Winnebago County State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato.
“The type of charge that you’re going to receive, as a theft charge, is dependent on the value of the property,” says Bruscato. “If the value gets high enough, you’ll be facing felonies.”
Bruscato says that when it comes to pet theft, there’s even more at stake for victims.
“Now, when that property is a pet, just setting aside the law, you’re dealing with someone or something that is part of somebody’s family,” says Bruscato. “It’s more than just a piece of property to them.”
With the pressure of law enforcement and outside forces, Mika was finally returned to the Winnebago County’s animal shelter.
And Terrazas is happy that her family is whole once again.
“I’m just really really glad that she’s here with us, with the whole family.”