Officials with the D.C. Humane Rescue Alliance say another puppy has been returned to the shelter and reunited with his mother, Godiva, after a litter of seven newborn pups was kidnapped earlier this month.
Three puppies remain unaccounted for.
The pup, christened Apollo, was returned to the shelter by a family that had unsuspectingly bought him, the Humane Rescue Alliance said in an update Tuesday.
The shelter said it planned to return Apollo — who was returned with a toy lamb chop — to the family “once he is older and strong enough to be separated from Godiva and his littermates,” the shelter said.
Apollo was one of seven lab-pit bull mix puppies born to Godiva in early August, after the pregnant and malnourished mother was picked up by the shelter the month before. After giving birth, Godiva and puppies were moved to a foster home. On Aug. 30, Godiva was found tied to a pole and abandoned, and the puppies were missing.
The shelter has put out an urgent request to the public for help finding the puppies and offering a $7,500 reward for information. Tips can be reported anonymously at 202-723-5730 (option 3), and the shelter said anyone who unsuspectingly bought or was given one of Godiva’s puppies will not be held liable.
One of the puppies was located before the shelter put out its call for help after authorities searched a home.
In addition to Apollo, the other puppies that have been returned are Aries, Glitter and Link.
Today we reunited Link, another one of Godiva’s kidnapped puppies, with his mom and two siblings after a community member who unsuspectingly purchased him brought him to HRA. Four more are still missing.
Report anonymous tips to HRA at 202-723-5730. https://t.co/3YFAHocsj0 pic.twitter.com/pTq8H8yASl
— Humane Rescue (@HumaneRescue) September 17, 2022
The puppies were just three and a half weeks old, which is far too early for them to be separated from their mother, the shelter said. Newborn puppies should be with their mother and littermates until they’re eight to 10 weeks old.
Pictures of the still-missing puppies, taken when they were newborns, are below: