WEST NEWTON, Ind. -- A stolen dog leads to new revelations for her owners—the family says they had no clue their dog lived another life. The pooch spent years building a network of people away from home, and recently, her wandering ways caught up to her.
Roger and Julie Gill took ownership of the dog after purchasing a farm in West Newton. The previous owners moved into the city, and didn't feel it was fair to bring McKayla, a large Great Pyrenees, out of farm life. She spent 12 years herding animals, and protecting the farm’s many acres.
“This is McKayla’s home," Julie Gill said. “She’s usually walking up and down that line, barking and guarding. She’s never known any other life.”
At least that's what the Gills thought until she was stolen on Friday.
“She’s quite a smart old cookie. She’s been fooling us all; she’s played us like a fiddle.”
You see, McKayla has another family, and a community full of people who look after her.
“I’ve just been thinking, ‘How does this dog sustain on what little she eats?’, but now I know,” Julie said.
When Julie turns her eye, the dog heads to the corner store, post office, and church. She's been hanging around these parts for years, mooching food off the easy regulars.
“She stands at the door like a panhandler, and catches people getting in and out,” Julie said. “It’s quite shocking there is a double life.”
Someone inquired about McKayla on Friday, asking questions to the corner store clerk.
“That dog belongs to the neighbors," Julie said the clerk told the woman. "And she said, ‘But I want this dog.’”
Surveillance footage showed the woman coming back 18 minutes later, feeding McKayla, petting her, and taking her away. The Gills watched the tape and discovered that other life.
“Another store regular came out at that time, and she told them stop,” Julie said.
The dognappers came to the Gills Saturday and said they have the dog, but did not return it. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police followed a tip, and tracked down the car. When police went to the home the people said they had the dog, and handed her over. They told police they thought McKayla was being neglected. The Gills are not pressing charges, but they are looking into ways to limit the dog’s other life.