By Shawn Chitnis

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue hopes the public can help them find a stolen puppy from a recent adoption event and also bring more awareness to the challenges that they face as a non-profit to take care of these animals and find them homes.

“The director of the rescue shouted ‘Stolen Puppy!’ and I took off running,” said Jessica Mason, a volunteer with the rescue. “Out the front door, attempted to throw myself on the vehicle.”

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(credit: CBS)

The event last Saturday at Bentley’s Pet Stuff on 2000 E. County Line Road had several puppies ready for adoption. One woman approached a volunteer and took an application form. She never completed it but left a note instead.

“I saw about three people taking off the door and so reflexes, I just took off the door, too,” explained Annabelle Shephard, another volunteer.

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Annabelle Shephard (credit: CBS)

The letter explained that the woman had lost her dog and she was stealing one today to take its place, according to volunteers.

“It’s their justification as to why it’s okay to pick up an animal and run out the door,” said Mason. “Why it’s okay to steal from a rescue that does angels’ work.”

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Jessica Mason, a volunteer with the rescue (credit: CBS)

The woman dyed her hair, wore a beanie, and had a lot of makeup on, according to volunteers. She told them she was from Elizabeth. Staff says she was with a man at the time. They described the couple as heavyset.

The stolen puppy is a Newfoundland Rottweiler mix. Staff are worried someone will try to sell the dog as a purebred. They also worry it could be used for dog fighting.

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Puppy stolen from MAMCO. (credit: Jessica Mason)

“This organization is focused on saving those puppies and saving those ‘mommas’ that are in high kill shelters,” explained Shepard.

Moms and Mutts takes in pregnant and nursing dogs. They find homes for their children but also work to find a place for the mothers as well. They take care of these animals until they find a permanent home for them and encourage fostering until someone can adopt these dogs.

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(credit: CBS)

“This rescue saves lives, it saves puppies, it saves nursing moms,” said Mason.

The stolen puppy is also a loss of funding for the rescue. Money they need to keep their operation going. The expenses are already high just to get animals ready for a new home and watch over them until a family adopts them.

“When you take that animal, you’re taking away the cost that went into that animal,” said Mason. “The potential adoption fee for that animal.”

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(credit: CBS)

Moms and Mutts also wants to bring more awareness to the need to help all dogs. Mason says these dogs are ignored because of the high cost that comes with their litter.

“Very often the pregnant mommas, the breeders, they’re tossed aside,” she said.

Moms and Mutts wants to keep an animal for as long as necessary to find it a home. To learn more about how to support the rescue, visit their website: https://www.mamcorescue.org/

“To have a rescue that is dedicated these animals, saves the lives of these animals that would otherwise be put down,” said Mason.

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(credit: CBS)

If you have any information about the stolen puppy, you can contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (303)784-7880. Detectives with that agency are investigating the case, or you can contact the rescue.

“Shop at rescues,” Mason added. “You’re not only saving animals but you know that animal is cared for and that animal is not coming from unfortunate circumstances.”

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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