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Many often think of microchips as a way of tracking down a pet owner when a dog or cat is found lost or as a stray. But they can also be used as evidence in pet-theft cases, which continue to be on the rise.

That was the case for Robert Lucier, whose Cairn Terrier, Waffles, was stolen while tied up outside a grocery store near his home in Seattle.

According to a news report by KIRO 7 (scroll down for video), multiple people reported that they had spotted Waffles with a homeless woman in the area after seeing a previous news story about his theft. Another reported seeing the woman washing paint out of the dog’s coat in a public bathroom, The New York Daily News reported.

waffles pre-theft
Waffles, with his natural light-colored coat. (Screenshot from KIRO 7 video)

Lucier tracked the woman down and wrestled Waffles away from her while police intervened. Waffles’ light coat had been dyed black, which threw Lucier off initially. “I looked and I thought maybe we’re just harassing this woman,” he says. “… then I smelled the chemical dye—that’s when I knew it was her.”

With the two arguing about whose dog it was, a veterinarian was able to scan Waffles’ microchip, which confirmed the dog was Waffles. Lucier does not plan to file charges, KIRO 7 says.

 

Thanks to Waffles microchip, he was returned home to his family, which also includes two young children. Click here for tips from the American Kennel Club on preventing pet theft.

 

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This article was originally published in AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today ($9.95 for 6 issues, including digital edition) to get expert tips on training, behavior, health, nutrition, and grooming, and read incredible stories of dogs and their people.