Ontario pet detective cracks Memphis dognapping case

WATCH ABOVE: An Alberta couple is over the moon after Dixie the dog was located a week after being stolen in Memphis, Tennessee. Shallima Maharaj has more on the dognapping and the steps an Ontario woman took to find Dixie.

EDMONTON — Move over Ace Ventura, there’s a new pet detective in town and she goes by the name of Gaynor Fletcher. The Ontario woman played a huge role in helping an Alberta couple reunite with their beloved dog, Dixie, who was stolen while the couple was on a holiday in Memphis, Tennessee last week.

“I’m pretty tenacious when I get my teeth in something, especially to do with animal welfare,” Fletcher said via Skype Thursday night.

The dognapping happened last week when Lorie and Terry Traviss, who live in Camrose, were in Memphis to celebrate Elvis’ 80th birthday. They left their four-year-old Yorkshire Terrier in the car while grabbing a bite to eat and when they came back to their vehicle, Dixie was gone.

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“My husband went out first and he came toward me and he said, ‘Someone broke into our truck and Dixie’s gone,'” Lorie said Thursday. “I said, ‘No. You’re fibbing me.'”

Security footage showed two people break into the Traviss’ vehicle, grab Dixie and throw her into their getaway car.

“They took her and threw her in the back seat of their car like a ragged doll,” said an emotional Lorie. “And then I started freaking out.”

READ MORE: Alberta couple’s dog stolen during Memphis vacation

After seeing the story online, Fletcher — who has three dogs and owns a dog-sitting service — couldn’t help but become involved.

“When I saw the video of the car I couldn’t helping thinking if this was a homicide or a child abduction, they (police) would have found other CCTV cameras in the area to get a better angle of that car plate and they would have had the car a lot quicker.”

“My worry was, what if it was a bait dog? What if she’d been stolen as a bait dog for a dog fight?”

Fletcher connected with Lorie through Facebook. Through Lorie, Fletcher was able to get in contact with a woman who thought she saw the dog in a local pet store and the police officer assigned to the case.

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“The officer was away for the day, I was told, the investigating officer. So I contacted his supervisor and then his supervisor above him. And I went right up to director and left messages with each of them.”

After finally getting a Memphis police officer on the phone, Fletcher asked him to go check out the pet store. The dog in question had been groomed, but the officer told Fletcher he was “90 per cent” sure it was Dixie.

After scanning the dog’s microchip, it was confirmed: Dixie had been found.

“When he (the police officer) phoned me and said, ‘We got your dog,’ my heart fell down to my toes,” Lorie said Thursday night. “I just can’t believe they found her, I just can’t. It’s a miracle!”

“We both cried and laughed and screamed and said, ‘Oh my God it’s a miracle,'” added Fletcher.

Dixie the stolen dog
Dixie the four-year-old Yorkshire Terrier has been located in Memphis a week after being stolen. Credit: Memphis Police Department's Facebook Page

Lorie was told by police the dognabbers sold Dixie to a person in a convenience store about 15 minutes away from where she was taken.

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“They sold her to this lady. And the lady that bought her did not know she was wanted or that she was a stolen dog,” Lori explained.

The woman who bought Dixie then took her to the pet store to be groomed.

Lorie said Fletcher’s help was incredible. Fletcher said she couldn’t simply sit around and do nothing, she had to help find Dixie.

“I just can’t wait to think about her home, in her little bed and in the arms of her mom and people who love her. I can’t believe it’s happened.”

Lorie and Terry are currently in Houston, Texas. They will be driving back to Memphis Thursday night to pick up Dixie.

“No sleep. I don’t care about sleep, I just want my baby back. I won’t be happy until she’s in my arms,” said Lorie.

Lorie said she was told by police three people were taken into custody in the case.