Stolen dogs recovered thanks to DNA test - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Stolen dogs recovered thanks to DNA test

One investigator tracked down this stolen pup and returned it back home. (Source: WALB) One investigator tracked down this stolen pup and returned it back home. (Source: WALB)
Dogs stolen from a Grady county breeder were reportedly worth more than $20,000. (Source: WALB) Dogs stolen from a Grady county breeder were reportedly worth more than $20,000. (Source: WALB)
And investigators said that the woman responsible is behind bars. (Source: WALB) And investigators said that the woman responsible is behind bars. (Source: WALB)
One of the six dogs recovered was found at a home in the 300 block of Drury Lane. (Source: WALB) One of the six dogs recovered was found at a home in the 300 block of Drury Lane. (Source: WALB)
Grady County Sheriff's Investigator Chris Luckey (Source: WALB) Grady County Sheriff's Investigator Chris Luckey (Source: WALB)
GRADY CO., GA (WALB) -

Dogs stolen from a Grady county breeder were reportedly worth more than $20,000. 

As of Thursday night, six of the nine adult dogs stolen have been recovered, as well as a puppy. 

And investigators said that the woman responsible is behind bars. 

The Grady County Sheriff's Investigator Chris Luckey said he's relieved to have finally found the pricey pups.

It's been almost three months since the victim called 911 and reported that her dogs were stolen. 

Thanks to a DNA test and an undercover deputy, most of the dogs are back home. 

One of the six dogs recovered was found at a home in the 300 block of Drury Lane in Colquitt County on Tuesday.

"These dogs are not just the typical dogs you think of," said Luckey. "These are very expensive breeding dogs."

Breeding dogs that belong to Kathy Buffington, a licensed breeder out of Grady County.  

But on the morning of April 4, 2016, Buffington called the Grady County Sheriff's office, reporting that six of her nine dogs were stolen from her property. 

"It's really no different than someone taking a child from a parent," explained Luckey. "That's exactly how she looked at it and that's why I knew it was important to her. And it was important to our agency."

So investigators went to work, checking social media and other websites for dogs for sale that resembled Buffington's. 

"If that's the process, and a lengthy process, then that's what we're going to do," said Luckey.

Fortunately, Buffington told detectives that one of the dogs that was stolen was pregnant, and would be giving birth soon.

"It just so happened we came across some puppies that were posted that were consistent with the due date of one of the females that was taken that night," explained Luckey.

And on June 20, an undercover deputy purchased a puppy from 49-year-old Pattie West in Colquitt County.

And in order to prove the puppy was birthed by the stolen dog, investigators took DNA from the puppy, and DNA from the father, who was still at Buffington's home. And it was a match. 

"It really shows that it can be done," said Luckey. "And it will be done if there's a possibility that we're in the position that we can."

Investigator Luckey secured a search warrant at West's home, where he found Buffington's dogs and cash believed to have been derived from the illegal sale of the dogs.

West is now in custody at the Colquitt County Jail and is charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

The Grady County Sheriff's Office had help from the Colquitt County Sheriff's Office and humane society, as well as the Department of Agriculture. 

Investigators have not connected West to physically taking the dogs.

Buffington said that she is overjoyed to have her dogs back, and believes Investigator Luckey must have been her good luck charm. 

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