KENNEBUNK — A 4-month-old puppy was back in the care of the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk on Friday after someone had walked away with the unsuspecting mutt last weekend.

The 20-pound pup named Walton was recovered from a Sanford resident, said Sanford Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas.

Tips from residents helped locate the dog, said Masellas. Walton lost some weight during his unplanned excursion but seemed otherwise unhurt.

“He was quite thin,” said Kerrie Leclair, development director at the shelter. “We don’t think he was treated very well when he was away.”

Staff suspected the dog was taken by a woman who was neither an employee nor a volunteer and had been seen walking Walton before he went missing.

Leclair said the shelter will be working with Kennebunk police to pursue charges in the case. Masellas said the woman, whom she declined to identify because she has not yet been charged, was known to police.

“She had been telling area businesses that she thought (the dog) was going to be euthanized,” Masellas said.

At the time of his disappearance, Walton was being held in quarantine before undergoing a temperament test that would have helped clear him for adoption. The shelter had sent the puppy’s photo to about 30 veterinarians to assist in the search.

Walton’s return to the shelter marks the end of an interesting few months for the dog, who was born in Georgia and transported to Maine through Paws Across America, a program that moves dogs around the United States from areas where they have little chance of finding permanent homes.

Leclair said the day before Walton was stolen, a family had met the puppy and said it needed a night to consider whether to adopt him. He was stolen the next day. Now, the family is ready to take ownership of the black and brown dog.

“I mean, he doesn’t know what it’s all about, but he’s the star of the day,” Leclair said.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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