Two Maine police departments are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who took a German shepherd from a farm in Saco on Monday and drove it to Gray, where the dog was turned loose and hit and killed by a car later in the day.

Doreen Metcalf, the dog’s owner, said in a telephone interview Wednesday night that she has no idea why anyone would have stolen Uhdelle – a black, 5-year-old female – and taken her to Gray.

Metcalf raises and breeds German shepherds at Timber Ridge Farm in Saco. She also boards horses. The farm, which Metcalf opened in 2002, is located on the Saco/Buxton town line.

Metcalf said she took six dogs, including Uhdelle, with her while she rode a horse along a trail in Saco Monday morning. Each dog was wearing a GPS tracking collar.

Uhdelle was a free-spirited animal and sometimes wandered away from the pack, but would always return to Timber Ridge Farm on Simpson Road, Metcalf said.

“(The dognapper) somehow got the dog into his car and took her for a ride,” she said. “But Uhdelle is highly motivated by food and toys. He may have thrown some food or a toy into his car, which was how he got her in.”

The GPS tracking collars are connected to Metcalf’s home computer and show her where a dog has been, its current location and how fast it’s traveling.

Metcalf said Uhdelle’s tracking collar indicated the dog went to a neighbor’s house in Buxton. When Metcalf went to the house, the neighbor told her that Uhdelle might have been shot by a hunter. She declined to comment further because of an ongoing investigation by the Buxton and Saco police departments.

The device, which appears to be have been dumped in the Saco River, has not been recovered.

Whoever stole the animal drove the dog to Gray and let it run free. Gray’s animal control officer spotted Uhdelle, but was unable to capture the dog, Metcalf said. Uhdelle was hit and killed by a car on Egypt Road.

Phone messages and emails to the Buxton and Saco police departments were not returned Wednesday night.

Metcalf has posted about Uhdelle’s death on Facebook and is overwhelmed by the support she has received.

“Her death has hit a sore spot,” Metcalf said. “A lot of people view dogs as an innocent member of their family. Dogs don’t understand danger like people do.”

As of Wednesday evening more than 2,000 people had shared the story and more than 820 people had commented.

“Please share this post and help us prosecute the person who did this to a dog who was one of the sweetest and friendliest girls, who only wanted us to throw her ball and give her hugs,” Metcalf said in a message posted Wednesday.

Uhdelle was buried at Timber Ridge Farm.

Anyone who has information about the case is encouraged to contact the Saco Police Department at 282-8216, the Buxton Police Department at 929-5151, or Metcalf at 602-8521.