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Yorkies snatched from Felton-area yard reunited with family

Liz Evans Scolforo
505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

Two Yorkshire terriers stolen last week from a Felton-area family are back home after an emotional reunion Monday evening.

"We're just very happy to have them back, safe with us, where they belong," Cathy Frey told The York Dispatch.

Charlie and his brother Chance (not shown) are back in their Felton-area home after being stolen on Feb. 9, 2017.
(Photo courtesy of Cathy Frey)

She said her four children, ages 3 to 7, were part of the reunion, which happened at the West Manchester Township home of a couple who found 1-year-old brothers Chance and Charlie wandering loose outside.

The West Manchester Township couple spotted the dogs and brought them inside — afraid they might be run over in the street — then called the York County treasurer's office. After providing the license number of one of the dogs, the couple was given the Freys' contact information and called them, Frey said.

Frey said she, husband Bob, their kids and Cathy Frey's sister-in-law were eating supper Monday when the phone rang.

"The lady asked, 'Are you missing dogs?'" Frey said.

Didn't get hopes up: Frey said her family had already chased a lead in the Hanover area that led them nowhere.

"I didn't want to get our hopes up again," she said.

Frey called state police, but the trooper investigating the theft was off duty. Police said it was OK for her to go check out the dogs, and the whole family jumped in the car, she said.

Once at the couple's home, Frey said she asked her sister-in-law to stay in the car with the kids while Frey and her husband went inside.

"In case it was a bad lead, we didn't want the kids to go through it again," she said.

Cathy Frey smiles minutes after being reunited with her family's Yorkshire terriers, Chance and Charlie, who were stolen from the Freys' yard on Feb. 9, 2017, and who were found four days later near West York.
(Photo courtesy of Cathy and Bob Frey)

But the Freys needn't have worried, and soon they called out for the kids to come inside.

"They were so happy," Frey said of her kids — and so were the dogs.

"When I took Charlie from the lady, he wrapped himself around me and rested his head on my neck," she said.

Everyone relieved: Then on the way home, Chance made his feelings known as he cuddled in the back seat with one of the Freys' sons.

"He just let out a sigh," Frey said. "It's like they were glad it was over with."

It's a sentiment shared by their humans.

"We are so grateful and thankful for everybody who played a part in this," Frey said, especially the volunteers at Find Toby in PA, a multistate networking group on Facebook dedicated to reuniting lost animals with their people.

After Find Toby in PA posted about the Freys' stolen dogs, Facebook friends began sharing it, according to Frey.

"We were nationwide," she said, including as far away as California.

The thieves: Frey said she and her family had been in their home watching television shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday when they heard Chance and Charlie barking.

"The dogs started going nuts," she recalled, adding she thought perhaps they were reacting to deer that sometimes graze in the area. Then the barking stopped, followed by silence.

Chance, left, and Charlie are back at home with Bob and Cathy Frey of the Felton area after being stolen from their yard on Feb. 9, 2017.
(Photo courtesy of Cathy and Bob Frey)

Bob Frey looked outside, saw a car driving off and said, "I think the dogs were stolen," Cathy Frey said.

The Freys have an electric fence for the dogs, but the thieves removed the dogs' companion collars and left them in the yard, she said.

Bob Frey jumped in his own vehicle and gave chase; eventually, the woman driving the car stopped, walked back to the Frey vehicle and asked if there was a problem, according to Cathy Frey.

Bob Frey told the woman what happened, but she said she knew nothing about it, and he didn't get to speak with the passenger in the woman's car, Cathy Frey said.

Got plate number: He did, however, take down the car's license-plate number. The Freys gave the number to state police, who are still investigating.

Cathy Frey said she and her family made fliers and posted them at local veterinary offices and pet stores and that she and her husband tried to reassure their children, who kept asking when Chance and Charlie were coming home.

"We thought for sure the thieves had sold them," she said. "But I think once it hit the news, they saw it. And the pressure was on."

The thieves likely just dumped the dogs at that point, she said.

'A shame': Cathy Frey said she and her family intend to be much more vigilant in the future.

"I don't know if we'd even feel safe letting them out unless we're right there with them," she said. "It's a shame."

The Freys live in a quiet neighborhood that's several miles from any main road, she said, adding she doesn't know how the thieves knew to target the Yorkies.

Anyone with information about who stole Chance and Charlie can call state police at 717-428-1011.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.