Dog stolen from Bath Township yard found one year later inside Akron home

Suspect, Colleen Dunn, turns herself into police

BATH TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Debby Despoth thought the Eskimo-Pomeranian mix she rescued a few years ago was gone for good after the dog named "Cody" was stolen from Despoth's Bath Township yard in the summer of 2011.

"We had gotten to the point where there was just, I didn't think that there was any chance of seeing him again," Despoth said.

But the fluffy, tan and white dog is back home after he was found inside an Akron house on September 28 -- more than a year after he disappeared -- and returned to the Despoth family.

"When the detectives brought him, I'm a mush so I was crying and he was giving me lots of love," Despoth said.

On Tuesday, Colleen Dunn, 54, turned herself into the Bath Township Police Department on a charges of theft, falsification and obstructing.

NewsChannel5 attempted to get her side of the story as she walked into the station. "I'm not speaking on-camera without an attorney," Dunn said.

Investigators said Dunn was a former caretaker for Despoth's elderly neighbor, who has since passed away.

Despoth said she, along with her son, witnessed Dunn steal the dog and put him inside her car.

Despoth contacted police in August of 2011, and detectives launched an investigation.

However, when officers talked to Dunn, she allegedly told them that she had permission to take the dog and that Cody ran away, according to Despoth.

Despoth said it became her word versus Dunn's word and the case stalled.

Bath Township Police Chief  Michael McNeely said detectives recently received new information that Cody was inside Dunn's Akron home on Harrison Avenue, obtained a search warrant and found the dog.

"A lot of people consider dogs family members. I certainly do. We were happy to reunite the dog with its owner," McNeely said.

Dunn was fingerprinted at the the police department, her mug shot was taken and she will be assigned a court date in Akron Municipal Court.

Officer Tim Harland, with the Humane Society of Greater Akron, said eight dogs and 15-20 cats were also found inside Dunn's home.

Harland said the animals were in good health and Dunn has since given away some of the dogs. The agency is not investigating her any further.

"Anything we had with Ms. Dunn is closed," Harland said.

Despoth believes Dunn needs to be punished because the past year without Cody was hard on her family, including her two children.

"Unless you've got a dog, you might not understand that, but they are (family), it's almost like having another child, Despoth said.

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