Working Dog Gets Stolen and Dropped in a Shelter 700 Miles From Home

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic

We all love our pooches, don’t we? It’s impossible to imagine that someone would be capable of stealing your four-legged companion. But, sadly many dogs get stolen every day. That’s exactly what happened to Hank, a 12-year-old McNab mix, who was working on a ranch in Oregon.

The woman who brought Hank to the St. George Animal Shelter told the staff that she had found the dog locally. However, Hank was more than 700 miles away from home!

“He was a working dog,” said Animal Service Officer Supervisor Cathy Freitas to St. George News. The pooch was found on a ranch in Oregon and driven to St. George by a woman who lied to the shelter staff and said that she found the dog in the local area. 

The dog was absolutely well cared for and happy,” Freitas added. “And the person who saw it assumed otherwise and thought rather than going to the authorities and saying ‘I found a dog,’ she intentionally drove the dog from that area because she didn’t want it to go back to the owner thinking that it wasn’t well taken care of because it was outside… Not every dog is going to be happy lying on your couch and eating snacks.”

The shelter posted a photo of Hank on social media, hoping someone would recognize him. Luckily, the post reached the right people, and a person in Idaho recognized the pooch. 

Soon, everything became much clearer.

As it happens, Hanks was with his family for a long time, and they missed him terribly. Unfortunately, Hank’s owners didn’t know where to start looking for him because the people who took him had driven so far away. 

When the shelter got ahold of the owners, they immediately got into their vehicle and drove 700 miles to get their dog. That’s 1,400 miles round trip - a sure proof of the love and dedication that they have for their pooch.

The owners explained that Hank is in the fifth generation of McNab dogs bred to work on the family’s ranch. 

People should know that there are working dogs, Freitas explained. These dogs are bred and trained to work and that’s where they feel the most comfortable and happy. 

If you happen to find a dog near livestock, there’s a good chance that it’s a working dog, and it’s best not to approach it. If the dog seems neglected or injured, contact Animal Services or nonemergency dispatch. This way the local authorities can check on the dog and get a hold of its owner. 

When it comes to Hank, the St. George Animal Shelter wouldn’t be able to hold his owners accountable if he had been neglected or abused because they are outside of the St. George Police Department’s jurisdiction.  The police from the dog’s hometown wouldn’t have been notified, giving the family a chance to adopt another dog.

Taking a dog like this is extremely stressful for them and their family, but it can also put their herd at risk, as they would be without a guardian and more likely to become prey. 

Luckily, this story has a happy ending and Hank is back on the ranch, helping his owners with livestock. His family could press charges against the woman who took him, even though she might have had the dog’s best interest at heart. At the end of the day, she stole Hank and transported him across state lines. 

If you come across a dog herding livestock, stay a safe distance away and don’t offer any treats or food. According to Freitas, most working dogs aren’t aggressive towards people, but they can be if they sense their herd is at risk. 

Let’s not forget that working dogs aren’t house pets. 

Join the PetGuide community. Get the latest pet news and product recommendations by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

More by Nevena Nacic