The owners of a French bulldog that police said was stolen from a Huntington house in a Thanksgiving Day burglary are offering a $5,000 reward for the purebred's return.
Sometime between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thursday, one or more burglars entered the home, on Robin Lane, and took the dog and a Sony PlayStation 5 video game console, the department wrote in a news release.
"The French bulldog, Stella, is four years old and approximately 20 pounds," the release said.
The residents weren't home at the time, and whoever committed the theft may have entered through an unlocked rear door, according to an email from the police press office.
"Me and my wife have been married nine years. We have no kids. This is our kid. So someone came in our house and stole, like, in our opinion, our most valuable possession," owner Matthew Hauck, 34, a contractor, said Friday afternoon in a phone interview, as he wept. "It’s just devastating."
Hauck said the intruder probably entered through a balcony’s sliding door, while he and his wife were out at his brother house’s in West Hempstead for Thanksgiving.
"I think my dog would likely have approached them...cause she’s a very friendly dog, and I think they just grabbed her as part of the smash and grab," he said.
Upon returning home, the couple thought that perhaps the dog slipped out or couldn’t be found in the house.
"We start tearing the house apart, maybe she got into another room. She got past her — we have a little baby gate that keeps her in her space — and ultimately we thought she slipped past that … then we started searching the streets and the woods and everything, and then I came home in a panic after, like, 45 minutes of search."
Then he saw the missing PlayStation 5, and then realized, "the dog’s not missing; someone stole our dog."
He said he got Stella from San Diego and picked her up there. She was named by Hauck’s wife, Jennifer, 35, a nurse.
Stella is microchipped — a "radio-frequency identification transponder that carries a unique identification number, and is roughly the size of a grain of rice," as defined by the American Kennel Club — according to a poster distributed by the couple.
About 2 million dogs are stolen every year, according to the American Kennel Club, which calls the theft "dognapping."
The kennel club website says "thefts often involve high-value dogs, for example Bulldogs and French Bulldogs, and smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers," the website says.
"The one-of-a-kind French bulldog, with his large bat ears and even disposition, is one of the world's most popular small-dog breeds, especially among city dwellers... The bright, affectionate Frenchie is a charmer."