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Missing Milford dog 'Leo' found safe

The owner said he got a tip on Leo's location, went to find the dog, and a woman claimed she paid $500 for the dog.

MILFORD, Conn. — "Leo", the dog that was stolen when a Seymour man's car was taken outside a restaurant in Milford, has been found safe and delivered to his owner. 

The owner, Emmanuel Castillo, said they got a tip Leo was in the New Haven neighborhood where his car was found earlier on Friday. Castillo asked for New Haven police to meet him there, and around 6 p.m., they found Leo between two homes playing with kids. 

They showed a woman there the missing dog poster and she confirmed that she had the dog. The woman claimed she paid $500 to buy the dog from someone. Castillo reimbursed the woman and he was reunited with his dog.

ORIGINAL STORY: Milford Police search for stolen vehicle with dog inside

Earlier Friday, Emanuel Castillo spoke with FOX61 before the dog was found and said he parked his brand new Kia Forte in front of DiBella's Subs so he could keep an eye on it while he ran in to pick up dinner he ordered online. But DiBella's had no record of his order, which distracted him just enough.

"And I come outside and the car is gone and my heart drops and I immediately called 911," Castillo said Friday.

He added that he could care less about the car. It was his golden doodle, Leo, who was in the back seat, that he was most concerned about.

"Currently, he has like an ear infection so he's on medication," Castillo said. "It's a dog that's very dependent on us. He's part of me. He's like a therapy dog to my mother. She's devastated."

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He received some good news from the New Haven police at about noon Friday. Emanuel's car had been recovered, but Leo was nowhere to be found.

"We are offering a $100 gift card for any information in regard to finding Leo," said Brian Burrell, District Manager for DiBella's. "We're a family organization and family comes first and our pets are our family."

The CT Dog Gone Recovery organization created a flyer that Castillo printed and posted at Milford businesses and in New Haven, and the flyer mentions a reward. 

"But we don't recommend a particular amount in case the person feels they can sell the dog for a higher amount or it's worth more," said Carol Lee Ferrucci of CT Dog Gone Recovery.

RELATED: Portland horse trainer faces 20 counts of animal cruelty

Desmond's Army animal advocacy group was offering a $2,200 reward.

A man walking near where Castillo's car was recovered in New Haven told him he had seen the dog and two men get out of the stolen car.

Castillo said Leo's cooler, which had his food and medication in it, was missing from the car when it was recovered. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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