News and Media

‘Little Man’ has been reunited with his owners at The Lost Dogs’ Home more than three months after it was stolen from their backyard

May 21, 2020

For more than 15 weeks Mooroolbark couple Elizabeth Hendriks and Paul Ortu have searched for a rottweiler puppy stolen from their backyard. But this is a story that has a happy — and unique — ending.

In an incredible turn of events, a puppy has been reunited with its owners more than three months after it was stolen from their backyard.

And the little rottweiler is about to be rehomed with the rottweiler-lover who helped police track down one of the two men who stole it.

Elizabeth Hendriks and Paul Ortu feared for the worst when one of their litter of eight-week-old puppies was snatched from their Mooroolbark backyard by two men driving a stolen car on January 27.

The breeders began a Facebook campaign to track down ‘Little Man’, getting the attention of thousands, but had no idea what could be happening to the dog, or if it was even still alive.

Ms Hendriks said they were living a “nightmare” and were extremely distressed by the ordeal.

Soon after they began posting on Facebook, a stranger sent them a photo of ‘Little Man’ lying on the table at Hungry Jacks at Southern Cross station.

The train driver who took the photo, Michael Medley, told Leader he was just stopping to get some breakfast when he saw the dog on the table, snapping a picture because he liked rottweilers.

“I’ve had rotties all my life,” he said.

He said he thought it was odd the dog was with two men at the fast food shop, but didn’t think anything more of it until he later saw the posts about the stolen dog on Facebook.

Mr Medley then assisted police, before they arrested one of the men, a 19-year-old Burnside Heights man, on February 6.

But despite police’s continued search for the dog, and thousands more people getting involved in the search on Facebook, there was no sign of it.

That was until Ms Hendriks got a call from the Lost Dogs’ Home on May 9 — almost 15 weeks after she last saw her dog.

Ms Hendriks said the organisation had seized ‘Little Man’ after someone took him to a vet to be microchipped and the vet discovered the dog was already registered.

Ms Hendriks said she was told the person had bought the dog soon after it was stolen.

‘Little Man’ was able to return home on May 11, and was immediately welcomed by his mum and brother.

Ms Hendriks said she and Mr Ortu were “extremely relieved” by the outcome, especially because the dog seemed so healthy.

“He likes to hide, but that’s probably because he’s been carted around a lot,” she said.

Now they’re preparing for ‘Little Man’ to move in with Mr Medley.

He had said to the couple that if they ever got ‘Little Man’ back, he’d love the first opportunity to buy him, with his rottweiler having passed away.

“It’s a good happy ending for sure,” Ms Hendriks said.

“It’s a pretty amazing story,” Mr Medley said.

Courtesy of Leader/Herald Sun online