"So glad to have him back:" 2 arrested, accused of stealing 6-pound pug puppy from Petland in Janesville

JANESVILLE -- A puppy is back where he belongs after he was stolen from a Janesville pet store over the weekend. Petland officials reported the theft Saturday, September 17th -- after a couple who was playing with an 11-week-old pug walked out of the store with it, according to WMTV.

As a result of tips reported to the Janesville Police Department and an investigation, officers were able to return the puppy to the store Monday morning, September 19th -- an outcome the pet store owner is more than grateful for.

"We're so glad to have you back here. We're going to take good care of you," Petland store owner, Mike Sardina, said as he held the six-pound pug.

For the first time in Sardina's 12 years as the owner, a pup was nabbed in plain sight.

"They asked to play with the pug, so the sales associate gave it to them. He got distracted by another customer and before you know it, they put the dog under their shirt and walked out the door really quickly. These little guys are babies and we were very concerned he wouldn't get the proper healthcare, nutrition -- just the proper care from somebody that would go so low to steal a puppy," Sardina said.

Many others on social media shared Sardina's concerns.

After police posted the surveillance photos, it did not take long to stop a suspect.

"(Monday) morning, with the information we had developed, we started looking for the suspect. Within a few short minutes, our follow-up officer noticed the vehicle being driven by the male suspect and lo and behold he was there and the dog was in the vehicle with him," Janesville Police Sgt. Dean Sukus said.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man for felony retail theft and dognapping. They also arrested a 21-year-old woman as a party to those crimes.

"The puppy looks to be in great health. We're going to have him examined by the vet (Tuesday), but so far everything looks wonderful and we're just so thankful and appreciative," Sardina added.

In response to this incident, Petland has changed its store policy to require photo ID in order to play with the animals.

In appreciation of Janesville police, Petland has decided all profits from the sale of the puppy will be donated to the department's K-9 unit.