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'I learned a lesson' | Connecticut family gets wake-up call after dog gets stolen

Emanuel Castillo says his golden doodle has not recovered from the trauma.

SEYMOUR, Conn. — Emanuel Castillo can finally breathe easily as his four-legged family member is home safe, but it was a long 25 hours of not knowing.

Castillo's car had been stolen from DiBella's Subs, in Milford, late Thursday afternoon, while his dog Leo was in the car.

But, by early Friday evening, the car and the dog had been found. But, Castillo says his golden doodle has not recovered from the trauma.

RELATED: Missing Milford dog 'Leo' found safe

 DiBella's, on the Post Road, is where Emanuel Castillo had gone to pick up a to go order. He was sure the order would be ready for pickup. But, the restaurant says they did not have his order. So he had to wait a few minutes, which opened the door to untoward activity. 

 "Leo is just not a pet for us," Castillio emphasized. "He is family and this house was not gonna be the same without Leo. It's a sick world we live in and these people don't have hearts."

His car was recovered late Friday morning along Hallock Ave. in New Haven. And several hours later, the Castillo family received word from an anonymous person that Leo was spotted along Cassius St. in New Haven twice.

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"Once we get to the location I'm passing in front of the house and that's where I see Leo," said Castillo with a smile.

The owner of the house where Leo was claimed she had purchased the dog for $500. So it was a $500 reward Castillo gave her to get the two-year-old rescue dog back.

 "We had to bring my cousin's dog from New York to give him some emotional support," Castillo shared.

RELATED: Milford Police search for stolen vehicle with dog inside

 And he says not surprisingly Leo hasn't been as adventuresome since returning home.

 "He just goes under the table, follows us everywhere," Castillo said. "He follows me to the bathroom. He's been sleeping more than usual."

 And Castillo adds that this experience was a wake-up call.

 "I learned a lesson of how important it is to have tracking devices for your dog," he said.

 He's already gotten a steering wheel lock for his car, which also has a tracking device.

 "It's an eye-opening experience that you can't trust anybody," Castillo says. "I thank God for answering our prayers because I know a lot of people were praying, people that we don't know."

 The New Haven Police Department is investigating and Castillo believes police have some good leads based on items recovered from the stolen car. 

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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