New Castle News

September 17, 2012

They’re back! Woman reunited with stolen puppies

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Irene Matas believes she has the cleanest face in Lawrence County.

Her face has been licked almost non-stop by her 11-week-old Boston terrier puppies since they were returned to her Saturday morning.

“They’re back and perfectly happy,” she said.

Someone entered the West State Street house Matas shares with her brother overnight Wednesday, taking a television, a camera, her purse and her puppies.

Matas printed up posters with pictures of the pups, who she had named Adam and Eve but who answered to Peanuts and Sissy. The fliers also noted their unusual markings. Friends at Dunkin’ Donuts handed out about 2,000 to drive-through window customers. Television stations in Youngstown and Pittsburgh aired the story and mentioned a $1,500 reward being offered for the safe return of her little companions.

“The news report was on all three Pittsburgh stations at 11 p.m. Friday,” Matas said. “Right after 11 p.m., I got a call from someone with a tip that the puppies were at a house on Pollock Avenue.”

She said a friend and her brother accompanied New Castle police to the address, but only one pup was found.

“My brother called between 1 and 2 a.m. Saturday morning and said, ‘I’m coming home with Peanuts.’”

At home, she said, the puppy licked her face, ran to his water bowl and drank non-stop. But he showed signs of depression, missing his sister, she said, and the diarrhea the dog had had since Matas got him was back.

Hers was not the only dog in the Pollock Avenue house, she said. “He came back with fleas.”

At 8 a.m., a second call came in.

“A woman said, ‘I know who has the dogs.’ We had decided not to release information that one had been rescued,” Matas said. “The woman said someone had tried to sell them to her, asking $20 to $100. I told her to call the police, and she gave the police an address.

“The police went but the dog was not there. They went back to the house where Peanuts was recovered and found the second pup. She was back home with me by 11 a.m.”

Sissy —who also had fleas — also licked Irene’s face with joy.

“I put her on the floor and little Peanuts ran over. They played together for two hours until they exhausted themselves.”

Matas said she called the media to say the puppies were safely home.

“I am amazed at the result the media had,” she said. “That is what brought them back.

“I got calls from people I hadn’t heard from in years,” she continued, “from people I didn’t even know who were sympathetic that my dogs had been taken and from people offering me dogs and cats to replace the puppies.”

Matas said a man visiting from Indiana offered her money from a fund established by his church.

“He said it was a fund made available to people who suffered losses of pets or family members. I thanked him but said I don’t need money. I asked for the prayers of his church that the puppies would be safely returned. Prayer is a powerful thing.”

Matas said New Castle police are still investigating and no arrests have been made.

She added the $1,500 reward offered will be split between the first two callers.

“A third person called, but by then we had the information we needed to get the puppies back.”

The home’s security system has been reactivated, Matas noted.

And when she takes the pups back to the vet for their next round of shots this week, she will discuss implanting a microchip in them.

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