Neil Haskett said he and wife Tabatha and their four children arrived at their Riverside Drive home shortly after 6 p.m., and immediately noticed their dog, Partner, wasn't there.
This was strange, as they'd locked Partner in the house a few hours earlier, and didn't know how he could have escaped.
A subsequent review of footage from security cameras the family recently installed on their home and the adjoining apartment building — which they own — leads Neil to believe several people entered the home through a front yard window.
The footage shows two people walking away with the leashed dog. Neil said he hasn't been able to find anything else missing from their house, although one man appears to be carrying something out under his coat.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened to the Hasketts. A year ago, their van was stolen. Neil said they installed the video cameras just a few weeks ago because of crime in the area.
After the dog's disappearance, Neil and Tabatha posted pictures of Partner on their Facebook pages, asking people if they'd seen him. Northern Life also posted the information on its Facebook page.
With the social media attention that followed, they received dozens of tips from people who said they'd seen the dog being walked on Paris Street, Regent Street, York Street and on Riverside Drive.
The family were searching the area in their van at around 6 p.m. April 10, when they noticed a dog that looked a lot like Partner being walked on Lorne Street by a man and a woman in their 50s.
They pulled up next to the couple, and sure enough, it was Partner.
“Oh my goodness, poor thing,” Neil said. “He was shaved almost completely bald. His head wasn't shaved and his tail wasn't shaved, but the rest of all of his long hair was completely shaved off.”
Neil and Tabatha confronted the man and the woman, they said they'd gotten the dog from Pet Save. They phoned Greater Sudbury Police and waited for them to arrive.
Meanwhile, the couple's four children, who were in the back of the family's vehicle, were in “hysterics,” Neil said. “They were just mortified that this person had had our dog, and they had shaved our dog,” he said.
Police eventually brought the dog to the family's vet, Dr. Dan Ransberry of Martindale Animal Clinic, who was able to confirm that he was, indeed, Partner. They were able to bring him home about an hour later.
Neil said the matter is currently under investigation by Greater Sudbury Police. The investigating officer was not immediately available for comment, but Staff Sgt. John Somerset confirmed police had received a complaint about the matter.
Neil said he's not sure why the dog was taken, but speculates maybe his captors either wanted to keep him or try to sell him to another family.
As for why Partner was shaved, Neil said he thinks maybe they were trying to conceal his identity. They also could have been trying to find a microchip under his skin so they could remove it.
Whatever the case may be, he said they're happy to have the dog home.
Partner seemed a bit shaken up at first, as he was whimpering, something he never does, Neil said. But he thinks that's probably because the dog was picking up on the family's emotions.
“It was a very emotional homecoming,” he said.