The Amazing Story of How 5 Neighbors Tracked and Found Two Stolen Dogs

Blue and Lady after they got home.

After a group of people took two Siberian Huskies that were tied up outside a shop on 96th Street on Saturday, owner Maureen Cross wasn’t sure how she would get them back. Little did she know the people in her building were amateur detectives.

Cross had tied her two dogs Lady and Blue outside of the Plant Shed on 96th Street near Broadway while she was at a nearby meeting early Saturday night. At around 6:30, some people came up to the dogs and appeared to have a conversation. After a few minutes, they untied the dogs and walked away with them.

A surveillance video showed the dogs being taken away.

When Cross came back to get her dogs and saw they were gone, she contacted the police, who drove her around to see if they spotted Lady and Blue. But the dogs were nowhere to be found.

The next morning, Cross’ neighbors jumped into action. Her friend Lynn wrote the following account of how they tracked Lady and Blue’s whereabouts.

It was a typical Sunday morning and I was taking my dog out for a walk around 7:45 a.m. when I noticed a sign on our building door stating that my neighbor Maureen’s two huskies, Blue and Lady, were missing. I contacted Maureen right away to see if she had reached out to the local police precinct or Animal Control Centers and checked camera footage from the Plant Shed, where her dogs were taken, to see who took them. She told me she had filed a police report the previous night and was heading over to the ACC as we spoke. The owner of the Plant Shed was in the process of getting video footage which she emailed me shortly thereafter.

I then ran into a neighbor, who happens to be a vet, and she asked if the dogs were microchipped (they are). She sent a picture of the dogs to the animal hospital where she works to help spread the word.

When I got home, I informed my friends and neighbors, Angela, Arielle, Brian and Jonah, of the situation, sharing the video Maureen obtained of the dogs being taken. As fellow animal lovers, we all decided to step in and help search for our neighbor’s missing dogs.

The associates at Staples on 81st Street and Broadway were equally concerned for the welfare of the dogs, and helped me print out flyers to post around the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Brian and Angela met up with Maureen to find out more information and then checked in with local police precincts and stores, while Arielle placed numerous calls to local veterinary centers, including the Symphony Veterinary Center. She and Jonah then started canvasing the area.

Around 10:45 a.m., the associate from Symphony Veterinary Center called Arielle back saying she found someone who posted on a stolen animal Facebook group page. “I was called by a friend that there are two huskies dumped at 92nd and Broadway train station. A male and female. I wish I could help maybe someone else can. One husky is a tripod (has 3 legs).” As soon as Arielle heard this, she knew it was the missing huskies, since Lady is a tripod. After successfully finding the contact information for the person who ran the Facebook page, Arielle spoke to her and then was connected to a few other people who knew of the dogs, the best lead being a friend of a friend who worked at AT&T.

Brian and Angela then went to the AT&T store on 95th and Broadway and spoke to the associate who saw the dogs the day before. The associate was eager to help, noting that she saw a man and a woman pacing up and down the streets with the dogs for about two hours or so in an irregular manner which concerned her, so she alerted her friend and info was posted on social media. She then noted that she saw another woman speaking to the people with the dogs, but didn’t know what they were conversing about. In addition to this lead, the people at Petco recognized the dogs on the flyer, saying they were brought in yesterday by two people looking to give them food and water.

Arielle and Jonah continued to scout the area, inquiring with store owners about the dogs, while Brian looked for additional video footage given the new information that the two people lingered in the vicinity for at least two hours, and Angela and I went back to search in Riverside Park and surrounding areas.

At one point, Brian and Jonah had gone to Telio’s (a restaurant on Broadway and 92nd) ,where they spoke to the manager. They showed him the photos, gave a recap of the events and Brian left his phone number. Not long after that, Brian got a phone call from the manager saying the doorman of his building saw the dogs go inside with one of his tenants last night. Apparently, the woman seen with the two people who had taken the dogs the previous night had brought the dogs to her apartment with the intention of bringing them to a local vet or shelter the next day upon returning from work. She had said that the two people with the dogs didn’t know what to do with them, so she stepped in to help. The doorman buzzed the apartment where the woman rented a room and the person who owned the apartment let Brian come up, although he denied any dogs being in the apartment in the first place. The dogs were found in the woman’s room and brought downstairs where they were quickly reunited with their owner, Maureen.

It truly was a team effort to find the dogs. From calling local police precincts and animal hospitals, to viewing video footage, searching the city streets and local parks, posting up flyers, having multiple conversations with compassionate employees at local stores, following up with leads from online sources and people in the neighborhood, we are thrilled to say this was a success story and for that, we are thankful to all the kind-hearted people who, in one way or another, helped return these two beautiful huskies, Blue and Lady, to their home.

We know that many missing dog stories do not always have the same happy ending, so we want to take this opportunity to remind people to please not tie up your dog outside of stores or restaurants, even if only for a few minutes. The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year and dog theft happens often in NYC. Many of the dogs who are stolen are never returned and some meet a terrible fate as bait dogs in fighting rings or are sold to another source. If you see a dog tied up, please check in nearby stores to see if the owner is there. If the owner is nowhere to be found, check to see if the dog is wearing a tag with the owner’s information. If all else fails and the dog appears to be abandoned, please bring the dog to a local animal hospital right away where they can be scanned for a microchip and cared for. Be cautious of calling the ACC as NYS law allows them to put down animals they receive in their care within 5-7 days of receiving them, giving little time for owners to find their beloved pets.

“Law and Order has nothing on these guys,” Cross told us. “The story was much more complicated than I even knew.”

After the dogs were found, police closed the case. The people who took them have not been found.

Clarification: We updated the amount of time before ACS can put a dog down.

NEWS | 54 comments | permalink
    1. robert says:

      Please to all fellow dog owners DO NOT take the risk and tie up your dogs outside of a store. This time there was a happy ending but many times that is not the case. I have had 3 Labs, the last one for 17 years, yes that’s in human years, and just got a puppy that will be coming home in late Feb. Yes the house was to quite after 17 years of “yippie my human is home”. Even though an 8 week old pup is a lot different than a 17 year i would never level ether one tied up outside. They could come lose on their own, be stolen or for that matter just turned lose. A few years ago their were a bunch of eco nuts that were claiming to be from something called the Earth Liberation Front. They didn’t believe that animals should be pets, that they should all be able to roam free in nature. There have also been cases for neighborhood assorted nuts that just let them lose for no reason whatsoever.
      The bottom line is 90% of dog owners do not tie up their dogs anywhere, even just to run into a store for 5 minutes. While I’m sure these folks are thrilled to get their dogs back it should be a teaching moment to us all as to how quickly they can be gone.
      Pls also microchip your dog and keep the info updated with the company especially if you move, change phone, change vet etc. My Labs also had a tag on them with their name, my name, cellnumber & and address. As well as thieir dog lisc tag and the rabies vacine tag. Doing all this gives you several ways the dog can be id’ed.

    2. chris woo says:

      your article doesnt say what time she left them –only that the suspects arrived at 6:30. Did they think the dogs had been abandoned because they were tied up so long?

    3. J says:

      Happy ending! Great detective work!

      Good reminder that best not to leave dogs outside.

      But also reminder dogs cannot be brought into food stores and restaurants.

    4. Jay says:

      “She had said that the two people with the dogs didn’t know what to do with them, so she stepped in to help.”

      I’m not sure I understand the article. Was the woman who took the dogs the same woman in the apartment?

      Why were the police not called?

      • West Sider says:

        Police were called. The woman in the apartment was not the same as the people who took the dog, from all the available evidence.

    5. NYYgirl says:


    6. Jerome36 says:

      What an awesome story! There are still good people in nyc willing to help.

    7. Scott says:

      “while she was at a nearby meeting…”

      At first I was sympathetic, no longer.

    8. Orin says:

      This is one stolen dog story with a happy ending.
      Stolen dogs are rarely recovered, and they come to a horrid ending. Owners who leave their dogs unattended are taking a big risk, and it is the animals that suffer the most. Stolen dogs to not go to good homes. I have been a dog owner, and would never tie my dog outside any building, no matter what the inconvenience. Nor would I leave a child, a bicycle, or anything else that I value.

    9. Spence says:

      Happy ending, thank goodness. But shame on the irresponsible owner.

    10. Ugh! says:

      What about the creep with the dogs!? Was he arrested? Was he the same one who took them?

    11. Designaddict10023 says:

      I’m so very happy the dogs have been reunited with their owner! Great work!

      When I first read about this I heard she had tied them up outside plant shed and just assumed she had to run into a shop or run an errand that didn’t allow dogs

      But, she went to a MEETING NEARBY?!!!!!!!

      I’m sorry … I too am a dog owner on uws and totally totally get having to leave my dog outside for a minute or two (normally able to look out the window to keep an eye out) but to attend a meeting is absolutely absurd … and I don’t think I’m being high and mighty writing that

      • Mikey G says:

        Couldn’t agree more. This story is wack. Thanks for pointing out what any sensible person would say.

    12. Darwin says:

      Thank goodness they were reunited. PLEASE DO NOT TIE YOUR DOG(S) UP OUTSIDE OF BUSINESSES. Even if you are the best pet parent, you are putting them at risk.

    13. Mark P says:

      Odd story. Perhaps the perpetrators took the dogs in the hopes of “finding” them to collect a reward?

    14. Elizabeth Forel says:

      These people are extremely lucky to get their dogs back and I hoped they learned a lesson. It is irresponsible to tie your dogs up someplace, leaving them unattended. Your dogs depend on you to keep them safe and if you cannot see that then you should not have a dog. Anything can happen and just because it has not so far, is no reason to keep leaving them alone.

      As the article stated, they can be used for dog fighting – also medical research, or just stolen to be resold to someone else — especially if they are a purebred.

      Do your shopping or attending meetings separate from walking your dogs. You would not leave your child unattended — so do the same thing for your dogs.

    15. Erica says:

      So glad the pups were found. I’m sure they were super stressed. Moral of the story? Don’t take your dogs to run errands.

    16. Meredith says:

      These dogs live on my block and I am so glad they were found! I had no clue they were missing and would have been happy to help too had I known. Lots of love to them and their owner.

    17. CH says:

      She tied up her dogs while she was “at a nearby meeting?” That seems extremely irresponsible!

    18. Judy says:

      The reason I love this blog so much is because of stories like this. Thank you for the time and care all the contributing writers put into this blog.It makes the UWS feel like a small town.

    19. npk says:

      These neighborhood people are amazing and I am so glad the ending was a happy one for all involved. I hahave one question. What happens now to the woman/people who stole the dogs since the woman’s identification is known?
      Also I just want to say that no one should ever tie their dogs up outside. There are too many dog thefts in this city and it is not safe and heartbreaking when it happens for both the owners and the animals!!!!!

    20. Bonnie says:

      Theft is not the only consideration. Tying dogs outside makes them anxious and afraid. They are among strangers and strange noises. This is why many tied up dogs often bark

    21. Suzie E says:

      Is it possible the people who took them in the first place thought they were rescuing abandoned dogs?

      Either way, that’s another reason not to tie up your dog, if you need one.

    22. Suzie E says:

      It seems it’s possible the people took the dogs because they thought they were abandoned, then didn’t know what to do with them.

      Even if not, it’s another reason not to tie up your dog/s while you’re in a meeting…or any other time.

    23. George on CPW says:

      This doesn’t sound like a malicious dog theft. Perhaps the people who took them, although mistaken and misguided, thought that the dogs had been abandoned or were being mistreated.

    24. Mary says:

      I am glad for the happy ending, but really? leaving your dogs tied to a closed store while you attend a meeting????

    25. Lisa says:

      What wonderful neighbors and concerned neighborhood business owners. Great work to all involved!

    26. JSN says:

      Is it true that ACC can put down animals “within 24-74 hrs of receiving them”? There’s nothing on their website informing the public of that caveat. It seems in conflict with their mission of providing homes for abandoned animals.

      • SA says:

        Yes they do

        The animal is held for 72 hours, after which it is released to the general shelter population. The ACC does not target strays to be euthanized, but like with owner-surrendered animals, they are sometimes euthanized. The ACC does make available its list of at-risk animals and its live release rate. It is not a secret that it is not a no-kill shelter (which municipal shelters with open-door policies rarely are).

    27. Cathy says:

      What happened to the dog thiefs?

    28. NYC10023 says:

      How long was Maureen in a “meeting”??

      I’m starting to wonder if these people were trying to rescue these dogs (that they thought had been abandoned); not stealing them.

      I’m guilty of tying my dogs outside of a starbucks or food store *IF* I can watch them through the window and I’m only going to be a minute or 2. But a meeting?? Hell no.

      Maureen truly is lucky the dogs were found, but I hope she learned a lesson here.

      • Dina z says:

        I agree – they gave the dogs to someone to keep for the evening. How long were the dogs outside? I have never left my dogs outside because I couldn’t live with the consequences of them being stolen

    29. Veronica says:

      I’m glad to hear that they were found and reunited. However, did she really leave them tied up outside while she attended a meeting? Not a great example of being responsible.

    30. Izzy says:

      Look, I’m a dog owner and I’ll admit, I’ve tied up my dog when running into Starbucks. I can see him from the store and keep a close watch, but I would NEVER EVER EVER tie him up when I was going to a “meeting nearby”. Seriously, that’s the weirdest part of this whole story. I’m judging hard on this one.

    31. Beverly says:

      Kudos to my amazing, kindhearted and caring neighbors. I am so blessed to live amongst you.
      Beverly in 2H
      P.S. Maureen-I would be more than happy to watch Blue and Lady when you are at a meetin.

    32. Dave O. says:

      Yes, the police did nothing. Instead of leaving the case open and trying to catch the thieves to prevent them from committing further crimes, they closed the case.

    33. Peter G. says:

      If she was at a meeting nearby, then she probably tied them up to the iron fence of Holy Name Church which is right next to the Plant Shed and hosts meetings in their basement all of the time. Glad to hear the dogs are safe. I hope she learned a lesson and not do that again.

    34. Christian says:

      I’m glad this ended well, but no dog deserves to be tied up alone on busy sidewalks with god-knows-who walking by. I see people running inside grocery stores tying the leash of their “best friends”onto a lamppost, scaffolding for 10 to 15 minutes to longer at a time. Do they know that if their dog gets frightened by someone and bites them that they have put the fate of their pet into jeopardy? What if the dog eats something someone gives them? I also see dog owners walking their animals off-leash far too often. Would you walk with a toddler without holding its hand or tie them up outside while you just “pop in” somewhere? Then stop doing it to your dogs.

      • dog lover says:

        I agree it is wrong to tie up dogs outside. And as someone who lives above a Starbucks, people leave their dogs outside there all the time. It’s never good, but especially bad if someone is walking their dog early on a weekend morning and the dog is a barker. There was one owner who would arrive at 8am Sundays for a couple of months, and the dog barked the entire time he/she was inside waiting for coffee. Take your dogs home after their walk, then go get your coffee, please!

    35. DD says:

      Good point Robert! NEVER leave your dogs tied up even if you are running a quick errand, you just don’t know what can happen and they don’t have a cell phone to call you. Also microchips do not track dogs unless they scan the dog at a vet or shelter…it’s not a GPS tracker.

    36. Young Sally says:

      I’m glad this ended well…although it seems like some details are a bit murky. I recall seeing a dog tied up along 92/93 between Bway and Amsterdam a few years ago…I became concerned because I had run a 15-20 min errand ansehen I circled the block, the dog was still there…and it wasn’t in front of a store or anything usual. I picked up my beasts at daycare and mentioned it to the staff, but by the time I’d circled the block once more, the dog was gone. Sounds a bit like what happened here

      • DanC says:

        I learned the easy way. After reading the sad story of a guy whose beloved dog was stolen from a Starbucks on the East Side, I stopped tying up my dog at Starbucks on the West Side. It’s worth the extra effort.

    37. Elizabeth says:

      To those of you who said you tie your dog up at Starbucks — that is not smart either. If you think you have your eye on your dog all the time you are waiting for your coffee, I can guarantee you do not. An average SB wait is about 15 minutes – much of that time with your back turned. People like you are like those with cats who do not have window screens and refuse to get them — i.e putting our dog or cat in a dangerous situation and believing nothing will happen because it has not until now. Would you do this with a young child? I hope not.

      So please walk your dog separately from getting Starbucks. Yes it will be more inconvenient – but if your dog is worth it, you will do what it takes to protect him/her.

      I agree with some of these other comments – someone with good intentions could and will take your dog because they consider you irresponsible and your dogs abandoned. Maybe your dog will be better off in a home where they get responsible care.

      Your dog could be taken to the ACC on 110th st. Depending on how busy and stressed the workers are, your dog may be euthanized. This has happened before.

    38. Elizabeth says:

      Starbucks?! Please stop deluding yourself. No one goes to Starbucks and expects to get out in a minute or two. If you cannot give your dog the attention and responsible care he or she deserves — and get your coffee on your own time, then you should not have a dog. Just because nothing has happened so far is no reason to think it never will.

      While you are ordering your coffee and taking care of yourself and not looking out the window – anything can happen. And some day you might well be very sorry.

    39. tim says:

      To sum it up- be kind and sensible with your pets. I’m not sure about the piling on against the owner that she needs to be ‘ashamed’ etc – she made a mistake and she will be a better person for that and the love for her dogs is undoubted (but yes, slight difference between darting in starbucks and going to a meeting, unless you’re similarly ‘darting’ in to cast your vote and leave..). To the posse – well done, very nice story (although I still don’t know why the apt owner “initially” denied the dogs were there, maybe innocent confusion having been put on the spot and not knowing what was going on).

    40. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      The owner went inside for a ‘meeting’ and tied her two dogs up outside like she was parking a car? Sorry, but I don’t understand that at all. She was lucky this time, I hope she learned her lesson. People need to start paying attention to what’s been going on around them for the past decade or two. This isn’t a bucolic village in 1950s England, there was a murder of a woman in her own home up there last summer.

    41. Drochira says:

      The real solution is allowing dogs in non-food stores and restaurants….like in Europe. Would love to see archaic laws changed.

    42. Marci says:

      First of, I’m with all the people who are horrified she left the dogs tied up while she went to a meeting. A meeting!? But the people who took her stayed local; went to Petco to try to get them food, were on 97th Street – with the dogs. So they weren’t trying to hide when they were right near where they took the dogs from. I’m guessing the dogs were there a long time – a missing and vital piece of information in this story – and it was freezing cold, and they were worried about the dogs.

    43. Sarah says:

      Pretty sure that the owner has learned her lesson. (Even if you aren’t sympathetic to her, you ought to be sympathetic to her dogs!!!)

      Excellent work by the neighborhood in finding them. Kudos!