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Missing Chocolate Lab Puppy Found Safe In Cortland

Local News

A six-month old Chocolate Lab puppy named “Jake” returned home safe and sound early this morning (December 21), after being missing for more than 48 excruciating hours from his owner, Debbie VanGundel.

She first reported Jake missing on social media on Tuesday (December 18), just before 6:30 p.m.

Her initial thought was that he had just run away from their home, located in the Levydale Park neighborhood in Cortland. But the worst quickly became her reality, when a neighbor told her she had witnessed Jake’s abduction earlier that evening.

According to VanGundel, the elderly witness told her that two men pulled up to Jake and told a group of unknown bystanders in the area he was their dog before taking him and driving off.

The witness couldn’t recall with accuracy much information on the vehicle they were in, as her primary concern was with the safety of the bystanders.

VanGundel made reports with State Police, the Cortland County Sheriffs Department and Cortland Police. She even went as far as to post a $500, no-questions-asked reward for Jake’s safe return. The story was shared in thousands of posts on social media.

In perfect time for Christmas, VanGundel reported this morning that Jake had finally returned home.

Cortland Police called her around 1:00 a.m. and told her a young man had discovered him wandering near Main Street.

From VanGundel herself:

“Jake appears to be unscathed. He is energetic, happy, very dirty and smells kind of funky. He was still wearing his blue collar. THANK YOU ALL for your support, for the sharing and re-sharing and the suggestions and comments. Jake is home because of all that you did. I am very, very grateful.”

So are we, Debbie.

There are no leads or suspects for the reported abduction at this time.

While questions may loom about exactly what happened to Jake, there’s no questioning that one family will be hugging a little tighter this Christmas.

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