Brandon dog back, ‘dognapping’ doubted

BRANDON — Sometimes a story is when there is no story.
When Melissa and Tim Gibbud’s Shih Tzu Sadie disappeared near their house on Churchill Road in Brandon last week, many people believed it was the latest in what was being called a rash of dognappings.
But the Gibbuds got their beloved pet back Monday night after they received a call form a woman in Brandon who said she thought she had their dog.
“Someone in Brandon had her,” Melissa Gibbud said Tuesday morning. “Tim went down to a house on Carver Street and called Sadie and she went nuts when she saw him. The woman didn’t want any reward money or anything.”
Burlington television station WCAX did a segment about the incident, interviewing Gibbud and another man in Brandon. The Homeward Bound animal shelter in Middlebury then posted a warning on its website about a woman  in a white van who was seen taking the Gibbud’s dog, based on the description Melissa Gibbud provided to police.
Gibbud also contacted The Brandon Reporter and put out a plea on Front Porch Forum, offering a $500 reward for Sadie’s safe return.
Another dog, a terrier, was reported missing from a property at the end of Carver Street two weeks ago. When people heard about the Gibbud’s dog, rumors of a dognapper started to circulate on social media. Then the TV station jumped on the story, and the shelter in Middlebury posted the warning.
But Brandon Police Chief Chris Brickell said Tuesday that the case has been blown way out of proportion.
“We don’t have a dognapper running around taking people’s dogs,” he said with frustration. “People jump to conclusions right off the bat and blow up Facebook. I don’t know why the animal shelter put that up on their website, because it just fanned the flames. There is no factual evidence to believe dogs are being stolen.”
The chief did send an officer to the home on Carver Street to talk to the woman who had Sadie and ask why she didn’t call the animal control officer or the police when she found the dog.
As for the Gibbuds, they’re just thrilled they have their dog back.
“We are so happy!” she said. “We’re very grateful for the neighborhood … It made me feel like there was a community out there that I needed to tap into.”

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