Little girl pleads for puppy's safe return

October 3, 2012 8:55:20 PM PDT
A San Jose family hit twice by burglars is now fighting to get back something that's priceless. Thieves took their puppy Meeko. The case is drawing attention to cuts in the police department's burglary division. The dog's young owner is digging into her piggy bank to put up a reward.

The family's home had previously been burglarized last year. They had made some safety improvements but it did not stop it from happening again.

Marie Mabanag showed ABC7 News where the burglaries broke into her home on Monday. The thieves shattered a double pane sliding glass door and stole thousands of dollars in electronics. But they also took something much more valuable -- the family's new puppy Meeko, a 5-month-old shih tzu-yorkie mix.

"That's what is just so messed up about this; when they go and making their quick buck, they don't realize how much emotions are tied to this, this is just not a dog, it's not money, it's my daughter's heart," Mabanag said.

Mabanag brought the puppy home in June as a surprise after her two daughters made the honor role in school. Ten-year-old Marissa says she's already taught Meeko how to sit and roll over. The callus thieves have her worried sick.

"I just want to know if he is OK or not, if he's hurt or not, that's it," Marissa said.

Two city council members joined the family to not only denounce the crime but also recent decisions at City Hall. Ash Kalra and Nancy Pyle say the mayor and council majority's fiscal policies have gutted the police department and opened the door for brazen burglaries to skyrocket.

"Word is out on the street and they know it, that we don't have enough officers to patrol our streets, we don't even have a burglary unit, we don't have detectives," Kalra said.

The police and fire unions have kicked in a $5,000 reward for Meeko's safe return. Kalra's office brought the reward up to $6,000, but it is the coins in Marissa's piggy bank and the emotions in her heart which may play the biggest role in bringing Meeko home.

"Can you try to turn him in to me? It would mean the world to me if you turn him in," she said.

Meeko does have a microchip and the family hopes if someone has unwittingly purchased the stolen puppy they will return him.


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