It was “an emotional outburst of joy for happiness for the family and Im sure the entire animal loving community, as well,” Taylor Galt, Atlas’ owner, told Global News.
After four nights without their beloved dog, the Galt family was greeted by friends and family when they returned home to Kelowna with their pet on Wednesday afternoon.
On Monday, Galt began getting text messages from a person who claimed to have recovered Atlas, but they also wanted to recover a $5,000 reward the family had offered for the dog’s return.
RCMP told the Galts to wait at a location in Penticton while officers retrieved the animal on Wednesday.
In a heartwarming video, Atlas is let out of the back of an RCMP cruiser at a gas station parking lot and pounces on his owner.
“The police called us. They said they had Atlas,” Galt said of their reunion. “They opened up the back door and he came running into my arms crying.
Galt suspects the man who was texting them was working with the woman who stole the 18-month-old dog from their Taylor Cres. backyard on Saturday night, an event that was caught on a neighbour’s surveillance camera.
“I believe I know exactly who it was. I cant reveal the name, but I have 100 per cent confidence in who it was,” Galt said.
“Returning Atlas to his Kelowna home was our first priority and no further updates will be provided at this time,” Const. Lesley Smith said in an email late Wednesday.
Galt said they did not pay the ransom to the man who had Atlas, but told his followers on social media he would give it to others.
“There were three people who were instrumental in recovery of Atlas, who will be getting the reward. Without their help, and the Kelowna Police I’m not sure when we would get Atlas back home.”
The 18-month-old golden retriever was stolen from a fenced Kelowna yard on Saturday night, leaving his family heartbroken and searching for answers.
After posting about the theft on social media Saturday, the Galts said they received hundreds of messages from people across the country.
“I need to say thank you to everyone who has messaged me and given me hope,” Galt said. “This was a devastating moment for our entire family, for myself, [for] everyone included.”
The entire Okanagan and beyond breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday when news broke of Atlas returning home.
Details of where the dog was found are not yet available, but Atlas is on his way back to Kelowna with his family.
The retriever hops out of a police car in that Shell station parking lot and barrels right towards Galt.
Over the past few days, Kelowna RCMP have received numerous tips from the public and continued to follow up on a number of potential leads,” said Kelowna RCMP Cst. Lesley Smith. While working closely with the complainant, our members were able to track down Atlas location and he was returned to his owner just after 4 p.m. this afternoon.”
Surveillance video showed the theft of the 18-month-old Golden Retriever on Saturday night, at approximately 7:30 p.m., from the familys fenced-in yard along the 2400 block of Taylor Crescent in the Mission area.
A Kelowna man who had his dog stolen from a fenced yard says it isn’t over for the woman who stole his pet.
Atlas the golden retriever was taken by a woman at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday from the property on Taylor Crescent. Surveillance video shows the woman approaching the fence, opening it and running down the road with the dog.
“We felt absolutely sick to our stomachs… It’s been a horrific feeling having a piece of our family taken away from us,” said Taylor Galt. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”
Galt purchased Atlas as a puppy from a breeder and says it stays at his father’s home while he is away at work.
After four days of desperately searching, Ian Galt was contacted Tuesday night by a man saying he has the dog but would only give it back if he was paid.
“We’ve been getting these text messages from this person in Penticton… I believe he was associated with the person who stole the dog,” said Ian. “He was just interested in getting the reward money.”
“A woman named Jessica and two people who want to remain anonymous were very helpful in the recovery of Atlas and those are the three people who will get the reward we offered,” said Ian. “The money is going to the good people.”
Police say their priority was bringing Atlas home and won’t be giving any further updates at this time.
Police reunited a Kelowna pet owner with his stolen dog Wednesday afternoon – after it was allegedly held for ransom.
On Tuesday night, Ian Galt was contacted by text message from an individual saying they had the dog and demanding a $5,000 reward.
“The police told us to come down and sit at a coffee shop and wait for them to call us,” said Galt.
Details about who took the dog and why are unclear at this time. Castanet is waiting for more details from police.
“A dog was held for ransom, not a guy who found the dog all in good faith,” said Galt. “We feel he was actively involved in the theft of Atlas.”
The family posted a $5,000 reward for anyone who could return the dog after a woman with blonde hair took Atlas from Galt's fenced yard.
“We are absolutely going forward with charges to the woman we feel responsible for the theft,” said Galt.
A Kelowna family whose dog was stolen from their yard tells Castanet they received a text message from someone saying they have the pet.
Surveillance video shows a woman walking up to a fenced property on Taylor Crescent on Saturday. She stands in front of the fence, opens it, takes the golden retriever and then runs down the street.
Atlas the dog had been staying with Ian Galt while Galt's son, Taylor, was away at work.
Galt said Wednesday morning they are working to prove that the dog the person claims to have is actually Atlas, but he strongly believes it is.
“I’m worried sick for him,” said Taylor on Tuesday night. “It’s been very tough.”
Police have not provided any comment on the new information. We will update as the situation unfolds.