Riverside County sheriff's deputies help return therapy dog to Perris family

PERRIS, Calif. (KABC) -- A Perris family's therapy dog is back home, thanks in large part to persistence from Riverside County sheriff's deputies.

They've only had the animal for a few weeks, but Elisa Rodriguez said the little Yorkie makes quite a difference in the life of her 2-year-old daughter, who has autism.

"She really loves this dog," said Rodriguez. "When she was not around, I could tell her behavior was changing."

The animal, Ruby, disappeared on August 10, perhaps through an open door. But Rodriguez was hot on the trail. She soon discovered a picture of their dog on social media, in front of a home in the neighborhood. But when she went to that home, they told her they'd already given the dog away to someone else.

"Somebody else got her, and that person gave her to somebody else," said Rodriguez. "And that person gave her to someone else."

She eventually went to the Perris station at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. At first, she didn't think her case would get much traction. But detectives were able to pick up the case and track her dog to a home in Santa Ana.

But the sheriff's deputy who took charge of the case said the people inside the home weren't forthcoming.

"They had told me that they had took the dog to the vet already and had the microchip scanned," said Deputy Paul Salazar. "(But) it didn't have a microchip, so the dog couldn't be her dog."

However, Salazar decided they would scan for a chip themselves, with the help of animal control. The dog did indeed have a microchip, and it showed the owner was the Rodriguez family.

"To somebody this might just be a dog," said Rodriguez. "But to us, it's part of our family."

Rodriguez said she didn't think she'd have seen Ruby again without the help of deputies.

"They went out of their way, went above and beyond to get my baby back, and I will always appreciate that," she said.

No arrests were made, but the sheriff's department claims the investigation isn't over.
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