The dog stolen from the Animal Ark Rescue in late February has been placed in a new, safe home, the shelter announced Monday afternoon on its Facebook page.
Lil’ Paul, a 10-pound Papillon with a heart murmur, was adopted from the no-kill shelter at 7133 Sacerdote Drive.
Animal Ark Rescue said the dog showed signs of neglect when it arrived at the shelter on Feb. 4. He had heart worms and hair loss from flea infestation, according to the facilities’ Facebook page.
The shelter said they had 11 of his teeth removed, because they were decayed and infected. He was recovering from surgery and without his medication when a woman stole him from the shelter on Feb. 28.
Surveillance video showed the suspect, who authorities later identified as 25-year-old Aysia Newkirk, arrive on the scene in a dark Ford Fiesta and take Lil’ Paul along with his bed, food, leash and bowl.
Columbus Police Maj. Gil Slouchick she returned in the same vehicle the following day and dropped off the dog outside of the building before a thunderstorm moved in. She fled without returning any of the stolen property, Slouchick confirmed.
The shelter said they discovered the dog around 8 a.m. that morning. He was wet, cold, scared and crying under a bush in the shelter’s yard.
Newkirk was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree burglary charge in connection with the incident. She was booked into the Muscogee County Jail, but she was released after posting bond.
The shelter took to Facebook after the burglary to ask that people donate to them using this website, so it can purchase quality security cameras.
“While we have a few cameras that caught the individual stealing Paul, they are not as clear as we’d like,” the post read. “Faces and license plates are blurry and oftentimes we cannot catch people dumping animals on our property or breaking in the building. We’d like to invest in better security cameras and also have an alarm system installed to better protect our pets.”