All Alfie Galan wants is his wife’s dog back.
And he’s willing to do just about anything – including pay a handsome sum – to make sure that happens.
Zoey – an 8-month-old Yorkshire terrier – has been missing from the family’s home since Christmas Eve. A door that was left open, Galan said, likely give Zoey the chance she needed to make a break for it, and when they discovered that she was no longer in the house the family scoured nearby yards and the neighborhood looking for her.
They had no luck.
“It was Christmas Eve and we had to leave and we figured that she probably ran to a neighbor’s house and they had her and we’d find her the next day,” he said, sounding dejected. “That didn’t happen. We talked to one neighbor who said that they saw somebody from a neighbor’s house with the dog, and when we talked to that neighbor, they told us that they had a friend over and that he was acting strange.
“The pieces started to come together from there, and we realized that she was taken. It destroyed us and it absolutely destroyed Christmas. Nobody wanted to open presents or eat dinner. All that we wanted was our dog back.”
It hasn’t been an easy web to untangle either.
The man that Galan and the neighbor believe took the dog was a friend of the neighbor’s friend, and he is, by all accounts, homeless – living out of his truck with no known address. A private investigator that heard about the story on the news contacted him with a phone number and some additional information, but calls – including some by the Manteca Police – have gone unanswered.
Galan said that he believes the man may be staying with relatives in Hayward, and that their beloved dog was either sold to somebody in a hurry – the neighbor told him that he rushed back into the house and said that he had to go, almost as if something was wrong – or kept as their own pet.
The family paid $2,500 for the dog.
“If he sold it to somebody, and they really truly want a Yorkie, then we’ll go out and buy them a Yorkie – we just want ours back,” he said. “I’ve been married to my wife for 26 years and I have absolutely no doubt that she loves that dog more than she loves me. That dog went with her everywhere – she slept right above her head.
“And she’s absolutely devastated right now. We’ve had a huge outpouring of support and we’ve had a lot of people calling up saying that they’ve seen Zoey, but so far we haven’t gotten her back.”
Fliers have been distributed throughout Manteca, and the family has opted to post a $500 reward. It’s an enticement separate from the offer to purchase a Yorkie for whoever is willing to return the dog to the family.
Galan said that he’s angry and upset with the person that he believes took the family’s dog, but noted that it’s entirely possible that he sold it to an unsuspecting family or dog-lover that had absolutely no idea where he got the puppy.
If that’s the case, he just wants that person to do the right thing.
“Who knows what kind of a story he could have told,” Galan said. “And there’s still the chance that he’s keeping the dog. We just want her back.”
The man believed to have taken the dog is said to go by the name “Lee” and is said to be living out of his 90’s-era gray or white midsized pickup truck. Manteca Police detectives are investigating the case.
According to Manteca animal services officer Les Rowe, the crime committed on Christmas Eve isn’t a very common one. Sometimes stolen pets are only reported twice-a-year, Rowe said, and very few are ever found.
Anybody with any information is urged to contact the Galan family at (209) 275-0036 or (209) 275-3318.