STERLING (CBS) – Update 9:15 p.m.

Worcester police have arrested one person in connection to the theft of puppies from an animal shelter in Sterling. Four of the nine puppies that were taken sometime overnight Wednesday to Thursday have been returned through an anonymous tip. No further information is available at this time.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.

From 12:15 p.m.

Police in Sterling are looking for the thieves who stole nine puppies from a local shelter.

Employees say on Thursday morning, they found a kennel door kicked in at the Animal Shelter Inc. on Laurelwood Road.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

They believe the crime occurred Wednesday night after the shelter closed.

The shelter says all nine stolen puppies had just been spayed or neutered and were recovering from the surgery.

“This is a life or death issue with them having surgery and needing the follow up care. The vet was going to check them this morning before they went up for adoption,” said shelter director Leigh Grady.

Some were on antibiotics for medical issues.

The puppies were all rescues from the Southern U.S. At least four were scheduled to be sent to the Animal Rescue League in Dedham for adoption.

Animal Shelter Inc. is offering a reward for any information that could help police catch these canine crooks. “I’m personally offering $1,000 reward out of my own pocket,” said Grady. She is worried the dogs could be used in dog fights or sold over the internet.

She’s asking anyone who knows anything about the crime to email her at or call her cell phone 978-423-1467.

Both of these puppies were also stolen Wednesday. (credit: Sterling Animal Shelter)

The two dogs on the right were stolen on Wednesday. (credit: Sterling Animal Shelter)

The two puppies on the left were stolen on Wednesday. (credit: Sterling Animal Shelter)

The black puppy on the left was stolen Wednesday. (credit: Sterling Animal Shelter)

Comments (30)
  1. S says:

    It would be nice if the puppies were stolen by people who were going to take good care of them and give them loving homes and the medical attention that they need, etc. But realistically, anyone who is going to do that is not going to STEAL puppies – they’ll adopt them through legal channels. So, I don’t know what the thieves had in mind, but it can’t be good. And I feel soooooooooooooooooooo bad for those puppies!!!!!! Please find them!!!!!!!!!! And please let’s make sure that they do end up in loving homes with people who will take good care of them. Puppies need love and good care, not the insanity and abuse that people who would stoop to stealing them will provide.

  2. L says:

    We have a rescued dog from one of the dog rescue places here in Massachusetts. I hate to think that who stole it are not going to take good care of these puppies. My guess is that they will try to sell them. It’s very sad.

  3. Vicky says:

    I could have sworn I saw an ad on Craigslist for “puppies” in Sterling this morning – but when I clicked on it – it had been flagged for removal. I just checked again it is actually gone. But they might be able to track it down? Who knows… Good luck w/ finding them!

  4. Maria Grace says:

    The majority of the dogs stolen were pitbulls,and it wouldnt surprise me if they are going to be used for fighting. i think there may be very obvious places to look if one were to think about it. sterling is extremely close to fitchburg, and fitchburg has a lot of illegal pit bull fighting going on all the time.
    I have a 10 year old pit bull, rescued as a puppy from dog fighters, and I have actually been approached at dunkins on merriam ave and various locations on water and main st. about “fightin her”. for which I am still appauled and disgusted. I hope you find them.

    1. tnpitgal says:

      Thank-you Maria for rescuring and openning your Heart to a Pet Bull. I have raised and shown this Breed for 28 yrs. Only had one that nipped and I corrected that very shortly. Most Pit Bull Owners don’t understand they have a Responsibility to raise a Pitt Bull RIGHT! They will reward you and surprise you just like two-legged children. They just won’t throw fits nor grow up to be Rapistists Or Murderers.

    2. Miley Cyrus says:

      The majority of the puppies stolen were pit bulls? Did you even read the article? Look at the pictures non of them are pit bulls and the pictures show seven of the stolen puppies. Also if you go to the website they don’t have ANY pit bulls even listed for adoption. Fitchburg has a lot of illegal pit bull fighting going on all the time? That’s funny how come none of it is ever in the news? How come there have never been any arrests or reports of dog fighting in Fitchburg?
      One person in Dunkin Donuts asks to fight with your dog and suddenly there is a huge dog fighting ring in the city and it happens all the time.

      1. Billy Ray says:

        Look at the pictures, some of those dogs are most definitely pit mixes and were probably stolen for fighting which makes me sick. Poor sweet dogs.

      2. jon says:

        Shelters do not often use the word pitbull to describe any dog. It makes them too hard to adopt so most of the time they are just listed as mixed breeds. If you don’t know what you are talking about, Miley, then don’t speak,

  5. dan says:

    If caught, I will personally see to it, with the help of a baseball bat, that the ones responsible for stealing these dogs never does it again. It’s hard to steal when you have no use of your hands or legs.

  6. Heather says:

    I am pretty sure that the same people who stole the puppies also stole my car and left it near the shelter last night. My belongings were found on Laurelwood Rd. They seem to have gone on a stealing spree. I hope that the police can find the thieves. Are there cameras at the shelter? I was so surprised to hear that not only was my car stolen but the puppies were as well.

  7. Jan says:

    People like this make me sick!
    Heather asked if there are cameras at the Shelter – I wonder if the Shelter has alarms? If not, it may be time to think about having them installed and connected to the police station.
    As for the reward, I think I speak for many people when I say if and when these precious puppies are found, knowing they’re safe and away from those criminals would be reward enough.

    1. Lisa D' says:

      I agree – the shelter obviously needs to update its security system. I know they have a fence around the shelter property and security cameras, but if they had an alarm system directly connected to the police, it would not have taken until workers arrived the next morning to discover the crime!! Of course, this all costs money … money I’m sure they would rather spend on the animals.

  8. Jess S. says:

    None of those dogs were Pit Bulls, just to clarify. The pictures clearly state that they are Pointer/Labrador Mixes. Still, hope the puppies come home safe, especially considering they were recovering from spay/neutering!! Keep a look out for newspaper ads and craigslist ads.

  9. Stan says:


    1. Labbiegirl says:

      You are kidding, right? I volunteer at this shelter and NONE of the employees I know there (and there are not a lot to begin with) would even THINK of doing such a thing.

    2. Lisa D' says:

      Unfortunately I had the same thought. The police need to investigate all possibilities.

  10. Pandora says:

    1) where were the security cameras?

    2) maybe the delinquent (‘s) could be spayed and / or neutered

    …just saying

  11. p.quiroz says:

    Wat a bunch of cold hearted sorry mother………..those poor babies dont deserve this kind of treatment.i hope n pray you catch those heartless sorry excuses for a human being

  12. Jessica says:

    A sad story with a ridiculously insensitive headline. A story about stolen puppies really isn’t the time to try to be clever.

  13. Leslie says:

    I agree. The headline of this story is disgraceful and in such poor taste. Whoever chose the headline needs to be reprimanded. Makes the whole episode sound like a joke.

  14. milo says:

    I work at a vet and we received an alert yesterday to be on the lookout for these puppies. Since they just had surgery they would be easy to spot. The article didn’t mention if the puppies were microchipped. It is something that many shelters do prior to adopting them out. And yes, some of these dogs were pitbull mixes. Shelters tend to identify dogs as just a mixed breed rather than say they are part pitbull. It makes for easier adoption as some foolish people steer away from anything that is even part pit. Hope they find the rest of these poor pups soon.

  15. LH says:

    How can anyone say that they are Pit Bull mixes? Unless they were owner surrendered and they knew who both parents were, the breeds of most rescue dogs are generally just guesses. And, most people can’t even identify a real Pit Bull. Can you?

  16. S says:

    I’m so glad that 4 of the puppies are safe! Now let’s find the other 5!! I find it very hard to believe that there were two separate thefts, so if the police have one person in connection with the 4 puppies that they found, they should be able to easily find out who else was involved and where the other 5 puppies are. (Anyone who would steal puppies in this manner doesn’t deserve reasonable treatment at the hands of the police – maybe if we tried to spay or neuter them (without anesthesia) we could get them to talk…)

  17. Jen says:

    the last one that was found in Worcester was with another one, but the people who caught this one couldn’t get the other one…that dog was located at: in the area of Scranton Road, Quinapoxet Lane and St. Marks Road in Worcester. Does anyone live near there? Can anyone who does please look around your neighborhood this afternoon???

  18. Lisa D' says:

    It’s now Sunday evening. Any more news? I understand 7 of the 9 puppies have now been found …

Leave a Reply