Cookie ‘held hostage’: Caller demands cash for dog

National News
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lost dog in Grand Rapids is being held for ransom, her owners say after getting an alarming voicemail from someone who claims to have found her.

“The voicemail is so mean it hurt my heart,” owner Norma Sarabia told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.

Cookie, a 1-year-old Australian silky terrier, was last seen Saturday on Hoyt Street SE near Nelson Avenue. The voicemail was left Tuesday morning, but Cookie’s owners haven’t heard anything since.

The caller on the voicemail said she wants to get “reimbursed” for the pet supplies she bought, or she will sell the dog.

“Take this message to heart because I’m dead serious,” the caller said.

Sarabia has been in panic mode since she received the voicemail.

“Cookie has been dognapped. She’s being held hostage or ransom or something. This is extortion. This is blackmail,” she said.

Around 8 a.m. Saturday, Cookie and Sarabia’s other dog, Goliath, were up to their usual antics in the backyard of their Alger Heights home.

“What he (Goliath) does is he’ll … bust under the fence,” Raul Mendez, the dogs’ co-owner, said. “(Cookie) will just crawl right underneath after him.”

Mendez has tried more ways than he can count to block the fence, but somehow Goliath always finds a way out and little Cookie always follows.

Goliath was brought back by a neighbor, but there was no sign of Cookie.

“Usually she comes right back, but after the hours kept going, I knew something was going on,” Mendez said.

Within a few hours, Sarabia and Mendez had dozens of posters up.

“We’ve been plastering it everywhere trying to get the word out,” Sarabia said.

They also posted on social media sites and went out looking for Cookie.

“We ride around the neighborhood calling for Cookie — ‘Cookie, come on girl’ — on bikes, trying to hear her voice,” Sarabia said.

So far, the voicemail is the only lead. It came from a blocked number and there was no name or contact number left in the message.

“I just miss Cookie. We just want her home,” Sarabia said. “I just feel like she’s with not a very nice person, if it’s someone who will just keep her like this.”

The pair knows that the call could be a scam, but for now they’re taking it seriously. They called the Grand Rapids Police Department, but it was not investigating as of Thursday.

If you have seen Cookie or know where she may be, you can call Sarabia and Mendez at 517.442.8190.

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