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Woof! Pilfered pup is returned - Ecstatic owner reunited with stolen pooch sold on black market

Little Samantha is back in the lap of luxury. After being hijacked from her Windsor Terrace home and then sold in Brooklyn’s bow-wow black market, the fluffy, friendly eight-year-old Maltese was returned to her overjoyed owner Tuesday amid cheers, a champagne toast and a hearty slice of sirloin for the prodigal pooch. What a wild ride it’s been. “I have seen the best and worst of humanity this week,” Samantha’s owner Pam Willke said Wednesday after she headed over to the 72nd Precinct to thank two women who said that they purchased her best friend off the street in downtown Brooklyn Friday -- two days after the dog was taken. Willke said that she returned home at 7 p.m. on January 23 to find her front door unlocked. When she stepped inside, her apartment was tossed about. A kitchen window leading to a fire escape was propped open with a mop handle. Nothing was taken except Willke’s most prized possession. “The only thing missing was my beautiful dog and her bright yellow carrier,” she said. “I had no idea what to think. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why anyone would do this. It was so cruel and awful.” Thus began a widespread search for Samantha. Neighbors in her building helped put up missing pet posters, spreading the word that Willke was offering a reward for her dog’s safe return. Her more computer-savvy friends were filling e-mail boxes and blog sites with calls for help – calls which were soon picked up by the Daily News and News 12. Through it all, Willke was losing sleep. Samantha’s absence could be felt everywhere she turned. “She’s only seven pounds, but she was one of those dogs would spread out on the bed and look at you and say, ‘Can I help you?’ when you try to get under the covers,” Willke said. “Even though I had more room on the bed, I couldn’t sleep.” But a cure for her insomnia came Tuesday when detectives from the 72nd Precinct called with happy news: Samantha had been found. Samantha’s “new owners” had seen the report on News 12 and had alerted authorities. The women told investigators they were window shopping in downtown Brooklyn Friday when they were approached by a black male with a tattoo on his neck. They claimed that the man gave them a heartbreaking story that he couldn’t afford his dog any longer and had to sell it. The two immediately fell in love with the dog’s happy gait and forked over $650 for her. Samantha was just getting used to her new home when she was brought to the 72nd Precinct and back in the arms of her former master. “It was a really happy reunion,” Willke said. “When she saw me, she came flying into my lap.” Willke, her boyfriend and the residents of her building celebrated Samantha’s return that night with a champagne toast. Samantha was treated to a feast fit for a queen. “We went to the butcher shop and got her a small sirloin,” Willke said. “And even though she really shouldn’t have, she had all the biscuits she could eat.” But, no bubbly? After all, she’s been through a lot. “She wagged her tail and begged for it, but there are lines I don’t cross,” she said. While the dog received a clean bill of health, and was tagged with a microchip at an area vet, little is known about her week away from home. “The detectives joked and said that they interrogated her for hours, but she wouldn’t give up a thing,” Willke said. As Willke prepared to compensate the two women for the money they spent on Samantha, cops were still looking for the burglar who kidnapped her. Anyone with information regarding this theft is urged to call the 72nd Precinct at (718) 965-6311. All calls will be kept confidential.

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