SAN FRANCISCO - A woman from Stockton thought she’d never see her Yorkshire terrier again after he was stolen from her car in San Francisco last Thursday. But on Sunday night, she was reunited with her dog.
Jacqueline Zavala-Lee of Stockton said she never plans to lose sight of her 10-year-old Yorkshire terrier, "Leo," again. She called the last three days terrifying.
There were tears of joy Sunday night in the parking lot of San Francisco police headquarters after Zavala-Lee was reunited with her little fur baby.
"He was just dancing, jumping everywhere and crying, we knew it was him," said Zavala-Lee.
The reunion comes less than 72 hours after Leo was stolen from her white Lexus near Fisherman’s Wharf on Thursday night. Zavala-Lee and her husband were in San Francisco celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary.
On the last night of sightseeing and after a busy day of tours, Zavala-Lee left Leo in the car knowing he was cold and tired.
"Let’s just put him in his carrier and he can go to sleep," said Zavala-Lee. "We put the windows down a bit. We put him in his carrier and we tucked him under the dashboard."
An hour later, they returned to their car parked at the corner of North Point near Powell Streets and found windows smashed. Their luggage, dog carrier and beloved Leo were all gone.
"I looked in the front," said Zavala-Lee. "My heart just fell because he was gone."
Zavala-Lee took to social media, offering a $1,000 reward.
On Sunday afternoon, San Francisco police texted her a photo and she knew right away from his signature sad face, it was Leo.
Police had received a tip, the dog had been sold in Oakland.
"The person who bought Leo," said Zavala-Lee. "He looked at Leo and he saw the story and said, ‘I think this is the dog.’"
Police picked up Leo right away.
Zavala-Lee feels incredibly lucky to have Leo back in her arms warning others not to get careless.
"Don’t ever let the ones you love out of your sight, you might never get a second chance to tell them you love them," said Zavala-Lee.
She can’t thank the community enough for bringing Leo home. She plans to take Leo to the vet. She said, for the most part, he seems in good spirits.
As for the person who sold Leo, San Francisco police have not yet made any arrests. The investigation is ongoing.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.