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Tue, May 21

California man searches here for missing dogs

William Reed of Eureka, Calif. is searching for two Mastiffs that he said were stolen from his ranch. Brandy, above, is a 1-year-old female.<br>
Courtesy Photo

William Reed of Eureka, Calif. is searching for two Mastiffs that he said were stolen from his ranch. Brandy, above, is a 1-year-old female.<br> Courtesy Photo

Most people who have pets treat them as part of the family, and that's why William Reed, of Eureka, Calif., has spent the past two weeks in the Prescott area in a frantic search for the two stolen Mastiff dogs that he refers to as "my babies."

Reed said he and his partner, Robin Moberg, allowed Shelby Allen, who he said was fearful of someone, to stay in an RV at his property in Humboldt County, Calif. Reed and Moberg run a therapy ranch to assist children and adults with disabilities. When the woman left to join her new boyfriend in Prescott, Reed said, she took his two purebred Mastiff dogs with her.

Reed said Moberg's son saw Allen leaving the property, and noticed one of the dogs in the back window of Allen's white Ford F350 truck. He thought nothing of it, because Allen had been staying there.

"I didn't see (the son) until later that afternoon, and didn't know the dogs were gone until he told me," Reed said, adding that he immediately put out the word on all the Internet dog sites he could find. Another Mastiff breeder enlisted the help of Trisha Harper, owner of K-9 Security Services in Phoenix.

Harper said she visited the neighborhoods of two residences connected with Allen's boyfriend. She saw one of the dogs at a Prescott Valley address, and from outside the fence, observed large dog footprints in the snow at a Prescott address where Allen and her boyfriend had been living.

"We went to the Prescott Valley Police and gave them all the information. They were incredibly helpful, and went to the house, but by that time the dogs were gone," she said.

Prescott Valley Police Cmdr. Laura Molinaro verified that her department is working the case.

Meanwhile, Reed drove to Prescott and waited for a warrant from California for Allen's arrest. Prescott Police arrested Allen on Dec. 26, and the Camp Verde jail verified that she is currently in custody. Brenda Godsey, public information officer for the Humboldt County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office, verified that her department issued a warrant for Allen's arrest on charges of grand theft of a dog.

But Reed still doesn't know where his dogs are. He said this week he talked with a woman who saw the dogs in Allen's boyfriend's yard before Christmas, and said he told her he had taken the dogs from California and was going to breed them because they sold for a lot of money, and he had moved the dogs to a safe place in Prescott Valley.

The search has been heartbreaking for Reed. He is worried about the safety of his dogs, and the occasionally hopeful signs have ended in disappointment. He has offered a reward for the pets, no questions asked, and has put out flyers at all pet outlets and veterinarian's offices in the area. But on Tuesday, he said, someone was calling behind him and telling the outlets that the whole story is a scam, and they are taking the flyers down.

Reed doesn't know where to turn from here.

"I'm a big, tough guy, and here I can't even talk about it without crying," he said.

The dogs aren't easy to miss. Max, a trained therapy dog, and Brandy are large, fawn-colored Mastiffs, one to two years old, with dark faces and ears. Both are micro-chipped. Reed has proof of ownership and photos of himself with the dogs from puppy to adulthood.

Anyone who has the dogs can drop them off at any pet outlet or veterinarian, no questions asked. Reed is offering a reward for their return.

Molinaro said the public's help is essential.

"We encourage anyone who sees dogs matching the description or has information not to take any action, but to contact us and we will follow up," she said.

Anyone with information about the two Mastiffs can call Prescott Police at 777-1988, Prescott Valley Police at 772-9261, or William Reed at 707-601-1916.

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