CHICAGO - A Chicago couple who claimed a French bulldog was wrongly taken from them has been reunited with their beloved pet with help from the ABC7 I-Team.
The people who said they are the real owners of the dog say just days after this I-Team story aired, social media lit up. It wasn't long after that when they got a call from a man in New Jersey who said he had their beloved French bulldog.
Michelle Carranza and her fiance David Zapata - along with their dog Frankie - are together again with the chocolate French bulldog, Kayo.
"He was a little exhausted, he had been through a lot. As soon as he saw me, he climbed on my lap, licked my face and fell asleep," Carranza said.
On Monday, the Pilsen couple told the I-Team how they posted these fliers alleging that the dog's breeder Jeremy Roger Paul Lopez wouldn't return the dog.
"I love my dogs more than anything and this is very hard," Carranza said on Monday.
They said they had a verbal agreement with Lopez and his business, Chicago Frenchies, allowing him to pick up Kayo for photo shoots. In return, they got a deal.
"It was just pick him up every now and then to take pictures with him and he did it for a whole year, 7-10 times. And he would bring him back the same day a few hours later. Only this time, he has been gone 8 days now," Zapata said on Monday.
Chicago Frenchies emailed, saying: "...Kayo does not or has ever belonged to David and Michelle. I have papers and contacts to prove it. There is a contract that he himself has signed stating he is the nanny and not Kayo's rightful owner. My lawyer is working on this case..."
Michelle and David say they never signed such a contract. They also filed a police report and showed me hundreds of pictures with Kayo, medications, medical records, dog grooming records and a rabies vaccination through the county. They also say they have a receipt for a $600 payment, and paid the rest of the $3,000 price in cash installments.
"I'm going crazy. I don't know what else to do I am just out of my mind," Carranza said.
And then, they received unexpected news. They said after people saw our I-Team report, they got a strange call from a man in New Jersey saying he had Kayo.
"We booked the first flight out," Carranza said. "It was a sigh of relief. It was amazing."
They said that man wanted to remain anonymous and they're not asking questions.
"Thank you so much to Jason and ABC I-Team news for helping us get our dog back. I truly believe that this would not have happened without you guys," Carranza said.
The I-Team reached out to the breeder in question and Chicago Frenchies again to tell them about this update, but hasn't received a response.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture confirmed the breeder and his company are not licensed.
The Better Business Bureau of Chicago offers the following tips for pet owners using a breeder:
Always visit the breeder. Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
Search for website warning signs. The reason fake breeder websites look real is because the content is typically stolen from another site. Look for duplicate sites by copying a line from the website into a search engine and looking for identical wording elsewhere on the Internet. Also, search for the domain name on "WHOIS Lookup." Make sure the site is hosted in the country where the breeders claim to be located.
Pick your puppy up at the kennel. Don't rely on the breeder to ship the puppy.
Check references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.
Pay with check or credit card. If a breeder pressures you to pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, it is probably a scam.