[Mary Kathryn Steel with Maggie. (Family photo via The Washington Post)]
In Washington DC, a high school student returned a stolen Boston terrier to its owners, and claimed a $10,000 reward for doing so.
The puppy’s name is Maggie, and belongs to Michael and Mary Kathryn Steel. According to the Washington Post, eighteen-year-old Rasheeda Smith told the owners she found the dog near the Petworth Metro station. The dog was sitting inside her travel carrier at the time. Smith returned Maggie to the Steels on May 18th. This was after seeing reports of the missing dog on television.
Maggie was taken from Michael’s car on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 17th. The young Boston terrier hadn’t been feeling well in recent days, struggling with both kennel cough and giardia. Michael wanted to take Maggie for a car ride in an effort to boost her mood. After driving around the city for a bit, stopping to give Maggie a walk, Michael decided to run a few errands. Placing Maggie in her carrier, he left his car for only 40 minutes. Maggie was left on the front seat while he was gone. When he returned, the window on the passenger side was broken, and Maggie was nowhere to be seen. The rest of the car’s contents were untouched.
The Steel’s Boston terrier is only 4 months old, and the couple was devastated to find her missing. They have only had the dog since February, having purchased her from a pet store in New Jersey. They went straight to work attempting to recover Maggie. They took to social media, television, printed and posted 100 fliers, even walked throughout the neighborhood in search of their missing puppy. And of course, they offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who found and returned her.
Putting a high price tag on the recovery of Maggie was purposeful and strategic. According to the Washington Post, the resale value for a Boston terrier can be up to $1,500. And it’s no wonder. The AKC lists, “friendly, bright, amusing, and adaptable,” as being the key qualities to a Boston terrier’s personality, traits many dog lovers find charming and important. The breed is currently ranked the 23rd most popular breed by the AKC. It is interesting to note however that this number has gone down in recent years. In 2008 the Boston terrier ranked as the 17th most popular dog breed. This is out of 189 currently registered breeds.
With a high resale value for Boston terriers, it is possible Maggie was stolen with the intention of making a profit from her. It’s something the Washington Humane Society sees on a more regular basis than you might think. The Steels intentionally made their reward significantly higher than the resale value of their dog. Both Michael and Mary Katherine have both worked in high profile positions in the Washington DC area. Michael is currently Press Secretary to Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner.
The couple did follow through with the reward they offered. Michael gave Smith, a senior in high school, a check for the money that was promised. Mary Kathryn told the Washington Post in an email that Smith said, “she would have a better prom with it!” Smith declined to be interviewed by the Post.
At the end of the day, what really matters was that Maggie made it home. The reunion brought Mary Kathryn to tears. The Steels are so grateful to have their fur baby safely with them again.
Photo Source: Washington Post