Jason and Tiffany Huston from Goshen, Ind., are trying to get back Prance, their Shih Tzu, after a neighbor sold the dog online. However, police say there is little they can do to help the Hustons because the online transaction was made legally and no laws were broken.
Prance became a member of the Huston family three-and-a-half years ago when the couple got married and decided to get a pet. The family moved to a mobile home community in Goshen, Ind., but Prance got lost last month while the couple was away and the dog was left with a family member.
“[The dog sitter] lost sight of [Prance] for a moment — she tends to want to sniff around and see what’s out there — and when we got home she was gone,” Jason Huston told NewsCenter16.
As soon as Prance went missing, the family member posted “Lost Dog” fliers around the neighborhood and visited local shelters trying to locate the dog to no avail. When the pet owners came back home they joined the search efforts. A Mishawaka Pet Smart adoption worker suggested the couple look online in the Michiana “Lost and Found” Facebook pages, and it was there where the Hustons found a “For Sale” announcement of a dog just like Prance.
Surprisingly, the online announcement was made a neighbor from their own community.
“The original for sale post had a separate picture and I knew immediately it was our dog ,” Jason Huston said. “It had our collar, it was shaved but had identical markings. It was our dog.”
After contacting the seller, the seller said she thought the dog was a stray and she was helping it by selling it online. The Hustons learned their four-legged family member was sold to a Fort Wayne man for just $50.
The buyer was suspicious of the $50 sale of such a nice and healthy dog, but since his granddaughter’s dog had recently passed away, and the price of the dog was a bargain, the man went ahead and purchased the pet.
The Hustons have tried giving the buyer the $50 he spent on the dog plus an additional $100 as a reward, but the buyer has refused to accept the money and return the dog.
Authorities say that because the dog was purchased in good faith, the case is a matter for civil court. Now the Hustons will need to face a pricey court dispute to get back the dog that is rightfully theirs.