2 puppies stolen from Ocala animal refuge

Shocked and devastated. That is how Melissa Candow, of Ocala, said she felt when four of her dogs were stolen. Two of those dogs were returned. The thing is, she says several of those dogs are potential future service dogs.

“I feel like they stole someone’s future,” says Candow.  She runs Starting Over Animal Rescue, a canine rescue in Ocala. Three of the stolen dogs are potential future service dogs, she said.  Candow explained, “They evaluate out as candidates for mobility. For seizure alter, for PTSD.”

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office incident report said someone swiped the puppies overnight Monday from her outdoor kennels.  Candow said the kennel was secure at the time.  “I don’t know why someone would do this,” she explained. “I mean, they sold my puppies in a parking lot.”

She credits social media for finding two of the dogs, Itty-bitty, and Thor. The other two dogs, Luna, and Mouse, are still missing.  “I don’t know what happened to them,” Candow told Fox 35. “I think they were sold.”

A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office said a detective has been assigned to the case.

Candow believes the puppy theft was planned by someone who recently visited.  “We do have ideas of who it was,” Candow said. “My big question is, are we going to be able to nail‘em?”

She said she just wants the puppies back. “If there’s somebody out there that has Mouse,” She pleaded. “That has Luna, I will pay you back. Please return them.”

If you’ve seen the puppies, call the Starting Over Animal Rescue at 407-280-6271.  You should also call the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 352-732-9111.