How did this happen? I-Team investigates after pet was stolen, put to sleep at kennel

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- What happened to Pudgie, the dog, sparked a FOX 8 I-Team investigation.

A stranger recently scooped up the dog along West Boulevard in Cleveland, took the dog to the city kennel as a stray, and almost immediately, the dog was put to sleep at the kennel.

Lauren DeAngelis couldn’t believe it. It happened to her precious pet. She said, "You shouldn't be able to take a dog and, not knowing where he came from for sure. You should have to wait; there should be a time limit before you euthanize a dog."

We went to the city’s chief animal control officer. He says a woman brought in the dog and said she’d found it in the street. Kennel medical staff put the dog down right away after determining he was suffering from problems that couldn’t be treated.

Ed Jamison said, "The dog was not able to use its rear legs, and they were able to tell they were not able to use its rear legs for quite some time. The dog couldn't support itself with its front legs and was in severe pain to the touch."

Lauren DeAngelis didn’t see it as that extreme saying, "I don't think he was in that bad of shape because he got around."

She says the dog had only been outside for minutes and inside of a fence. So what about the person who stole the dog?

A neighbor had even pointed out the car with the woman who had taken the dog. Lauren’s boyfriend went up to say, ‘Hey , what are you doing?'

He went around to the passenger's side to get the dog. And suddenly, the woman took off.

Jamison said, "She certainly, it appears, gave false information to my office."

Now a criminal investigation is under way into the woman who took the dog. Jamison pointed out the woman should have let authorities handle it if she thought the dog was in distress.

"Had they called us, had they called the APL, had they called the police, we're the ones with the authority to take in those animals,” he said.

Lauren can’t bring back her dog, but she hopes, at least, the thief will be brought to justice. "It makes me think what if somebody wanted to do it to somebody else’s dog?" she said.

State law says impounded dogs should be kept for at least 3 days. But the law allows for “Immediate humane destruction of the dog…because of obvious disease or injury.”