A Virginia family is asking for the public’s help after their hound was stolen. The dog, Ringo, disappeared during a youth hunting tournament in Rural Retreat.
Dog stolen during hunting tournament
The Deel family raised Ringo since puppyhood.
“He was one of my best hounds,” Rocky Deel, Ringo’s parent, told WSLS. “He’s like part of the family.”
According to the news outlet, on Oct. 14, Rocky participated in a local youth hunting tournament with Deel’s son.
“The dogs are just bred to do it,” Deel said. “They love doing it.”
During these hunting events, dogs may track animals as far as 10 to 20 miles from their humans. At the end of the day, no one knew where Ringo was.
Eventually, the family received a call from a fellow hunter. He told the Deels that they spotted Ringo on the side of the highway. The dog was with two people.
“By the time he got a hold of us, and we get off the mountain, it was showing that the dog was still there,” said Deel. “We go there, we can’t find him, and we end up finding the tracking collar thrown in the ditch.”
The family filed a police report. They suspect the people who took Jagger were driving a maroon van with a Florida license plate.
Family offering reward for dog’s safe return
The State of Virginia considers stealing a dog a Class 5 felony. Convicted dog thieves face up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, removing a dog’s tracking collar qualifies as a misdemeanor in the state.
But the Deels say that they will not press charges if someone brings Ringo back. Furthermore, the family offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to Ringo’s return.
Until that happens, the Deels are grappling with the devastation of losing their stolen hound.
“We just miss him,” Deel said.
His daughter, Sierra Whalen, told the news outlet that Ringo is “not just a hunting dog.”
“A lot of people have this thought that they are not treated well, but they are,” she said. “They are just like family just like any other pet would be.”