UPDATE, June 11, 2014: Dux, the third missing police dog who had been stolen at the end of May from a Larkspur kennel, has been found.
Dux was found in an abandoned home in Palmer Lake Tuesday and returned the relieved and grateful kennel workers. An employee at the kennel told 11 News last week that they were very concerned about Dux's chances for survival, due to the possibility that he had been exposed to the elements during an alternately hot and stormy week. Dux's brother Alonzo was found tied up in a field on June 5, badly dehydrated and malnourished.
Dux was also dehydrated and underweight when he was found Tuesday, but his prognosis is good. All three dogs are expected to fully recover.
ORIGINAL STORY, June 5, 2014: A badly dehydrated and underweight police dog was found Thursday tied to a post in a field near Palmer Lake.
The dog is one of three police dogs that had been missing from a kennel in Larkspur. Sometime late on the night of May 30 or early in the morning of May 31, 13 dogs were released from the Gunbil German Shepherds kennel.
"All the kennels in the big kennel were open from the inside," dog trainer Marie Pauciello, who works at Gunbil, told 11 News. "Completely open. And all of the dogs were let loose."
Ten were found immediately, but the whereabouts of Alonzo, Dux and Linka were unknown.
"We noticed that three were missing...and we noticed that a leash was missing. And Douglas County [Sheriff's Office] comes out with their forensic investigator, and they find a footprint with a paw print next to it."
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office speculated that the dogs had been stolen due to their value; the estimated worth of the three missing purebred German Shepherds was $100,000.
Dr. Jensen with the Palmer Lake Veterinary Clinic said that when Alonzo was brought to her Thursday afternoon, he was severely dehydrated and had lost about 20 pounds. It's unknown how long he had been tied up in the field.
With Alonzo located, two of three missing dogs have now been found. A Palmer Lake resident spotted Linka in his backyard the day after they were reported missing. Neighbors recognized the dog and called police. The 16-month-old pup was reunited with her owners shortly thereafter.
"Her paws were raw like she had been running for awhile,” Pauciello told sister station KCNC after Linka was recovered.
Though the sheriff's office originally told the media that the dogs were to be considered highly aggressive due to law enforcement training, that was later revealed to not be the case. The kennel said none of the stolen dogs are vicious, and the public was never in any danger.
Jensen said Alonzo was found in the nick of time.
"He's really lucky to be alive," she told 11 News. "I think if they wouldn't have found him by today, he probably would have been dead by tomorrow."
"He's extremely dehydrated and in shock," Pauciello said. "He's in really bad shape.
"He had dug a 3-foot hole to try to lay in to hide from the sun. There was no shade, no water, no food...it hurts my heart knowing what he's gone through. I'm ecstatic to have him back but the condition is just awful and I don't understand how anyone could treat an animal like that."
But because he was found in time, Jensen says Alonzo is expected to make a full recovery.
Pauciello is worried about the one dog still missing, Dux, who is just a year old.
"We're hoping he's not tied up out there somewhere because if he's been out there the same time Alonzo has, he's not going to survive."
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Dux, contact the sheriff's office tip line at 303-660-7579 or call 911 right away.
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