By Elise Franco
An Idaho couple and their daughter are desperate to find their stolen English bulldog and say they won’t leave the Mahoning Valley until she’s back in their arms.
Brook Jillings said she, her husband, Paul, and their 2-year-old daughter Marley arrived at Bob Evans in Liberty around 4 p.m. Tuesday for dinner as they traveled from Pennsylvania to Washington.
Jillings said that since it was cool outside they decided to leave their 3-year-old bulldog Mabel napping in their van with the windows cracked. About 15 minutes later it began to rain, so Jillings went back outside to check on Mabel and roll up the windows.
“When I went out the first time, everything was fine,” she said. “When we were finished eating and went back to the van, we realized it had been broken into.”
Jillings said Mabel was gone, along with a laptop, camera and personal documents and identification. Jillings said she locked the doors after returning to the van, but police found no signs of forced entry, according to a report filed by Liberty police.
Jillings said the doors were, in fact, unlocked when they got to the van, but it’s unclear if the person who broke in unlocked the doors after gaining entry, or if Jillings unlocked them using her keyless entry as the family left the restaurant.
“I know I locked the doors when I went to roll the windows up, though,” she said.
Mabel is microchipped and is white-and-brindle-colored with darker markings around her eyes. Jillings said she recently had an allergic reaction and had hives on her body, as well as a sore behind her left ear. She said the family is especially desperate to get Mabel back so they can have her ailments treated by a veterinarian.
Jillings said the most important thing for her family now is to find their dog. She said they’re staying in a nearby hotel and don’t plan to leave the area until they get Mabel back.
“We feel kind of helpless,” she said. “We’re staying for as long as it takes because leaving her behind would be like leaving our child behind.”
And though the family filed a police report, Jillings said officers admitted not having much to go on. No witnesses have been located, police said.
Don Young, a manager at Bob Evans, said he’s doing everything he can to help the family by hanging fliers at the business and spreading the word to other nearby businesses about the missing dog.
“It’s my obligation to go to my surrounding stores and let them know so all eyes can be on the lookout,” he said. “I just feel sorry for them.”
Young said it’s been a while since a car was broken into at his restaurant.
“This is the first time in a long time that this has happened here,” he said. “I think they saw the dog and broke in to get her.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Liberty Police Department at 330-759-1511 or Paul and Brook Jillings at 208-407-4479.