MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The family of a 9-year-old Moreno Valley girl is desperate to find her emotional support dog, who they say disappeared from their home earlier this week.
While it's possible the puppy escaped through a side gate, the family said it's their belief that he was stolen.
"I don't want to think someone stole him," said Jessica Negrete. "I don't want to think that."
Negrete bought the eight-month-old French Bulldog puppy named Oso back in November for her sister Mia, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy.
"With that type of condition, it makes her weaker; she doesn't have enough stamina," said Negrete, whose boyfriend told her a Frenchie would be an ideal family pet and companion for her sister.
"They are some of the most loving and sweetest dogs," said Negrete. "I work two jobs; my mom works two jobs. So, we just wanted her to have something to give her more company."
Negrete discovered Oso missing from their home on the 27000 block of Laurel Court in Moreno Valley around 6 a.m. Monday morning. She said Oso was last seen the night before around 11 p.m.
"I asked my brother, 'Where is he?' And he was like, oh shoot, I forgot that I let him out to use the restroom last night, and I forgot to bring him back in," said Negrete.
Negrete searched the backyard, and noticed that the side gate was open. While it's likely that's how Oso left the property, she said the fact that the gate was open was very unusual.
"It's never open. We don't use it," said Negrete.
She's also suspicious of something that happened in her backyard two days prior to Oso going missing. She said she was playing with 9-year-old Mia, Oso and two other dogs, when four men approached their back fence and started looking into the property.
"We heard one of the guys say 'Oh, they have dogs,' and then one of them said 'Did you see that one?' That's when I noticed they were talking about the Frenchie," said Negrete.
She said a neighbor later found Oso's distinctive green sweater on a trail behind the home. While dirty and wet from the recent storms, she said there were no signs of damage. And she said Oso could not have removed the sweater himself.
"We were looking at it and there's no blood; there's no rips. It looks like it was just taken off," said Negrete.
Negrete said she has yet to file a police report. Unfortunately, she said Oso is not microchipped. She said they've placed hundreds of flyers throughout the neighborhood. And so far, surveillance video from around the neighbor has turned up nothing.
"We just want him home. We don't care what the circumstances were, or how he got to whoever has him," said Negrete.