DECATUR, Ala. – A military couple living in the River City has been busy making calls and visiting area animal control offices and shelters, all to find their 2-year-old German Shepherd Bolt.
They posted a $1,000 reward for his safe return.
“We just want him back, we posted ‘no questions asked’ just return the dog,” said owner Tim Wilkins.
Wilkins says on March 14, the dog briefly went missing from their home near the intersection of 4th Avenue and Betty Street. He says a man nearby told him he’d heard a dog barking as a green van pulled off. At that point, he and his fiancée Marian Samuels added chains to the gates in their backyard.
But five days later, Bolt was gone.
Samuels said the evidence of human involvement is obvious, with a gate latch now pried open.
“There was a chain link around it and usually [the latch] hugs the actual post,” she said. “They pried the fence open, pulling it, bending the handle itself allowing the dog to be taken from the yard.”
He says a mother and child approached him, and believe they witnessed the moment Bolt vanished:
“They said they saw two men, one in his 30s or 40s, with a bald head, and wearing a hoodie, helping an older gentleman, taller gentleman, kind of heavy-set with salt and pepper hair, loading the dog into the side door of a green van,” said Wilkins.
Not only does the two-year-old pup mean a lot to the Marine and Soldier, but has also helped with medical emergencies.
“Both my children suffer from asthma and the youngest suffered from seizures,” said Samuels. “As a mother you don’t initially know your daughter is going to be sick, that dog knew before anybody else knew that something was going to happen, which made us pay attention even more.”
Wilkins also suffers from seizures and says Bolt sensed a medical episode looming.
“Unfortunately about 90% of the time he’s dead on,” he said. “In my case if, I end up on the floor, he’s right there, he’d go from me to wherever the rest of the family is, then come back, and stay. But he will not leave whomever is down until somebody else is there.”
They’ve spent the last few weeks canvassing the neighborhood and putting flyers in mailboxes and on telephone poles.
“If you took him to re-sell him, if you took him to make him your pet, he’s not just a pet, he’s an intricate part of the family.”
Wilkins and Samuels have filed a police report in Decatur. Anyone with information on Bolt’s whereabouts is asked to called law enforcement or call/text 404-644-5532.