California Woman Desperately Searching for Dog After Pup Was Allegedly Stolen & Sold on Craigslist
Samantha Norris' pug Ted first went missing from her Lake Los Angeles residence last month
A California woman is doing everything she can to find her dog after she says he was stolen from her yard and then sold on Craigslist.
When Samantha Norris came home on April 16, she went to let her two dogs inside the house as usual, but Ted, her 3-year-old pug was nowhere to be found.
After searching the streets and posting fliers around her Lake Los Angeles neighborhood, Norris says she was shocked to learn that her dog had been put up for sale on Craiglist by the stranger whom she believes stole him from her yard just weeks earlier.
“I thought he just ran away,” Norris tells PEOPLE. “What else would you think if your dog goes missing? I wouldn’t think that someone stole him.”
To make matters worse, Norris claims the woman — who she has been in contact with and discovered lives around the block from her — is refusing to cooperate with her on Ted’s newest whereabouts.
“I’m fighting for my dog that she doesn’t even have,” Norris says. “I’m pissed that she did what she did, but just knowing that my dog was literally around the corner at her house… it makes me very upset.”
Norris first learned that her dog had allegedly been stolen on May 3, after she shared a missing dog post in several community Facebook groups. One of the users from those groups messaged Norris on Facebook with the Craigslist link and asked if it was Ted.
Immediately, Norris said she knew it was her beloved pooch, who is microchipped. “With pugs, it’s hard [to differentiate them] but, when it’s your pug, you know exactly that it’s your dog,” she explains.
“Ted has a mole on his right face,” she explains of how she was able to distinguish him in the photo. “I look at his wrinkles on his forehead. That’s him. And just his expression in the picture, he’s smiling. I have that motherly instinct.”
The ad, which was screenshotted and shared on Norris’ Facebook, said that the “purebred 2-year-old pug” had all of his shots and was a “healthy, super friendly, nice lap dog” who “loves everyone and other pets.”
It also cited moving as the reason why the family was “selling” him and requested the new owner pay a $200 rehoming fee.
When Norris called the number, she said was unable to reach the woman but left a message initially pretending to be interested in buying the dog — that is until she got in contact with her and learned that she had already sold him.
“I said, ‘Well, here’s the thing: I’m the owner of the pug and you had no right to sell him,'” Norris recalled, adding that the woman “could not remember” who she sold him to, as she allegedly deleted the contact information in her phone.
Norris also noted that the woman claimed she did not steal Ted, but rather he was walking on the street and jumped into her van. According to Norris, she later changed her story, claiming that Ted appeared at her doorstep one day while she was sitting in her recliner and again, when she said he was sold to someone in Glendale.
Norris eventually called the Lancaster Police Department to help her with the case but after visiting the woman’s gated property, she says they told her they could not do anything further and advised her to take it to small claims court.
A rep at Lancaster Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Norris said she has been in contact with private investigators and several good Samaritans who have offered to help, with additional plans to take legal action.
“It’s overwhelming that so many people out there care,” Norris says. “I know that I will be getting him back, it’s just a matter of a time… but I’ll definitely be pressing charges against her.”
In addition to her own family — Norris has three children with her husband: an 8-year-old, 4-year-old, and 1-year-old — the mother of three feels terribly for the people who recently purchased Ted not knowing they were getting scammed.
“It’s devastating and I feel bad for the people that bought him because they have no idea what is going on — I hope they do now,” she says. “They’re a victim too. I would pay them their $200 back and reimburse their money just to have my dog back.”
“I miss him, I want him to come home… I’m not gonna give up. I’m fighting for what is mine at this point.”