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Rescue Group Finds Lost Pup, Holds it For Ransom?

Rescue Group Finds Lost Pup, Holds it For Ransom?
Smuth with Det. Samer Issa. Photo via the LAPD.

After two years you would probably think a lost dog was a lost cause.

But, thanks to the miracle of chip technology, the 79-year-old, retired teacher Adeline Cruz's beloved pooch Smuth was discovered on a street and ultimately returned to her. But not without some "ransom" drama, the LAPD says:

The dog, a female Shih tzu-Pekingese mix, went missing from Cruz's Mission Hills home two years ago, police say.

But the canine, named Smuth, was found by a meter reader in Canoga Park and handed over to a rescue group, which fixed her up, including bathing and the removal of a growth on her head, to the tune of $289.00, the LAPD says.

A microchip embedded in the dog identified Cruz as the owner.

Rescue Group Finds Lost Pup, Holds it For Ransom?
Cruz and Smuth via the LAPD.

In March, when the group informed the former teacher it had her dog, it also made it known it wanted to recover its costs before Smuth would be handed over, according to the LAPD.

But that would be ransom, cops say.

Det. Samer Issa:

Since the vet costs were not authorized by the owner, the rescue technically could not hold the dog for ransom. While she might seem like family, dogs are property, and in this case, found property and the owner had a right to it.

All is well in lost and found, however. Cruz agreed to give the group a donation, an undisclosed sum, anyway.

And -- and -- today is her birthday. She got, police said, "the best present ever."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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