A dog that went missing while in the care of a pet sitter in Chicago last March could be in Paramus, police said.
Nia Morgan, 25, selected a dog sitter using the Rover.com app to watch her dog, "Z", while she was on vacation beginning March 18. She received detailed updates on Z from the sitter, leaving her under the impression that all was well, she said.
It wasn't until Morgan returned from her trip that she discovered Z had been missing since the very day that she left, after he got loose in Waukegan, IL -- an hour away from where he was supposed to be, Morgan said.
A Google search of the sitter's first and last name turned up an extensive and "shocking" criminal background, including charges of robbery, car theft and a hostage situation, Morgan said.
Rover.com issued a statement saying that the situation was an uncommon one, but being taken seriously. The company also said it's also probing how the background check provided by a third party failed to address these "troubling issues."
Morgan's sitter has since been "removed from the Rover.com community," the company said.
The case made its way to Paramus Police Det. Marc Glantschnig last Sunday, when an area resident reported seeing a similar-looking dog at several Bergen County dog parks.
"The new owners told the witness they had bought their dog on Craigslist in cash, in a parking lot from a seller based in Illinois," said Glantschnig, an animal-lover who serves as his department's humane law enforcement officer.
"The witness also noticed the dog had similar markings, a very distinct pattern, under his chin."
While the dog spotted in Bergen County could very well be a similar dog with a coincidental story, Glantschnig won't know for sure until he speaks to its owners -- who he clarified are not at fault at all.
"We're waiting for someone to identify the owners," Glantschnig said.
"They purchased the dog thinking the previous owner didn’t have the means to take care of him.
"My witness is fairly certain she met the missing dog -- that's why we decided it was worth putting the message out."
Glantschnig added that the dog spotted at the Van Saun, Maywood and Ridgewood dog parks goes by "Bentley" or something along those lines.
Anyone who knows the owners of the dog pictured above is urged to call Glantschnig at 201-262-3400 x1413 or email email@example.com.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for anyone who can help bring Z home.
"I decided to trust Rover.com in hiring my sitter because of their marketing on their background checks and trustworthy sitters," Morgan told Daily Voice.
"Had I known my sitter had any tie to a criminal offense I never would have hired her."
Morgan hopes that sharing her story will help bring her dog home and help others avoid similar situations in the future.
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