Iraq war veteran Francisco Torres was distraught when his 8-month-old German shepherd went missing, and security footage shows an unknown man removing the dog from his front yard in East L.A.
The dog, TJ, was given to Torres to help ease his post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Surveillance video from the home near Cesar E. Chavez and Eastern avenues shows the dog-napper unlock Torres' front gate and lure the puppy out, her tail wagging, on Monday around 8 p.m.
"It’s upsetting and saddening at the same time," Torres said. "We’re missing a loved one. It’s not a pet, it’s family member."
TJ weighs 80 pounds, is spayed and microchipped, and her left ear is not fully standing up.
Torres' wife, Angela, said she discovered TJ was missing Tuesday morning. When they alerted neighbors, one said she recognized the dognapper as one of her friends, according to Angela.
"That’s why she went with him," she said.
However, sheriff's officials told the couple the incident isn't a crime since the thief did not forcibly remove the dog and intent can't be proved.
"Somebody opens the gate and lures my dog out. To find out that it’s not a crime — come on," Torres said.
However, deputies told the couple they would go back the the family's home and file a suspicious circumstances report and help the family locate the person who took their dog.