News 5 Investigates

Jun 16, 2014 7:19 PM by Eric Ross

Soldier’s missing dog found; Agreement to return dog to owner underway

UPDATE: 

A representative for the "Bring Baxter Home" Facebook page says an agreement is being worked on to return Baxter to his owner and the Facebook page has since been removed as part of that agreement.

News 5 will keep you updated on when Baxter is reunited.

FULL STORY:  

We first told you last week about a Fort Carson soldier's dog who went missing while he is serving overseas.

Friends and family set up a Facebook page to help find the dog and within a few days, he was located. However, the family who has the dog, doesn't want to give him back.

Robert Gabbert, a Fort Carson soldier left Baxter, a 3-year-old Shiba Inu with his girlfriend while fighting overseas in Afghanistan. For reasons unknown, the girlfriend sold the dog on Craigslist.

Friends and family took the search to social media to find Baxter, where they later learned Baxter had been sold to another military family oblivious the dog had been sold without the soldier's permission.

"Now that they (the new family) knows about it, they can do the right thing," Nancy Wallace, a supporter with the "Bring Baxter Home" Facebook page said.

However, the new family doesn't want to give Baxter back, saying their small children are now attached to the dog.

Wallace says she understands the new family's frustrations, but says the dog deserves to be reunited with his rightful owner.

"I could understand how they could be attached," she said. "I can understand that it's a difficult situation. I think they need to think about what if their dog went missing. Would they want their dog back?"

What you might think is a clear case of "right" and "wrong" is murky when it comes to the legal system.

"If the new owner does not wish to return the animal, unfortunately it becomes a civil dispute," Animal Law Enforcement Assistant Director Jamie Norris said.

If the case winds up in court, there's no guarantees Baxter will be reunited with his owner.

"The courts will generally award the victim the value of the pet itself," Norris said. "It's basically a replacement value. It's unfortunate as pet lovers because you can't put a price tag on a pet."

Gabbert's family is offering $1,400 for Baxter's return. The Colorado Shiba Inu rescue is also offering to help Baxter's new owner find another dog.

Meanwhile, people like Wallace are hopeful the family will have a change of heart.

 

 

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