MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – Six very rare and very expensive puppies were stolen in the middle of the night in rural Madison County. They are only four weeks old. Their owner is worried about their chances of survival.
Kennel owner Jen Chandler says the six puppies are Presa Canarios, more commonly known as the canary mastiff. Each is worth about $3,000.
“I cried for 24 hours; these are like children,” she said.
Chandler was heartbroken after she says someone broke into her kennel sometime between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
“It’s very upsetting,” she said.
The kennel’s security has since been upgraded. Chandler said the dog breed is originally from the Canary Islands. They are known for helping on farms and working with livestock. They were once a dying breed.
“I would consider myself a preservation breeder,” she said. “Breeds that were very close to extinction, my goal is to bring them back to where they were.”
She and her Presa Canarios have won many awards at dog shows across the country.
Chandler gave the Madison County Sheriff’s Department the name of a potential suspect.
“We’re going to look into potential past individuals she had some issues with, we’ll talk with that person,” said Captain T. Mike Dixon, Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
The theft has gotten a lot of attention on the web. Chandler estimated her story of the crime has been shared 40,000 times. Chandler is offering a reward over $10,000 for the safe return of all six puppies.
She’s worried they may not survive because they’re so young.
“They’re 4 weeks. Without weaning, can this person help to wean these puppies—they’re on mother’s milk—and survive?” she said.
The sheriff’s department said they take cases like this personally and seriously. They know pets are like members of people’s families. Chandler says that’s true in her case plus the puppies are very valuable.
Chandler says people with information on the whereabouts of the puppies can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.