A South Suburban Humane Society worker who claimed a bulldog was stolen from him at gunpoint Thursday morning is believed to have fabricated the story, police and humane society officials said.
"I was kind of shocked, and I just wanted to hug her," Sarah Stokes, the dog's owner and an employee of the Humane Society, said. "My stomach is still in knots that it was someone in our family and that they would do something like this."
Authorities said the 22-year-old, who had worked at the humane society for two years, was lying when he said someone held a gun to his head while stealing a petite bulldog named Polly from the van he had been driving.
"My staff member fabricated the story, and had given her to a friend," Emily Klehm of the South Suburban Humane Society said. "We were very upset and very concerned about him. I don't know what the puropose of it was."
At the time, the humane society said the worker was taking a van full of dogs to a spay and neuter clinic.
On his way to the facility, the man claimed he saw a dog tied up to a stop sign and pulled over to help the animal. While attempting to untie the dog, the worker said someone put a gun to his head, took the dog from the stop sign and took Polly from the van.
The shelter took to social media seeking help in finding Polly.
Hours later, police said the worker “fabricated the story” and Polly was believed to be at a friend’s home. The dog was returned to the shelter and reunited with a staffer who adopted her, and Stokes was just happy to have her dog back.
"I'm so relieved that we can take her home and that it's a happy ending," she said.