By Devin Fehely

FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Police in Fremont on Tuesday were asking for the public’s help locating two missing bulldog pups that may have been sold from a stolen animal transport van recovered by authorities in Oakland Monday.

One of the dogs was found Tuesday evening and the search continued for the other one, Fremont Police said.

Detectives with Fremont PD confirmed that Fable, an American Bulldog puppy, was with her owners.

The van was stolen overnight Monday from the parking lot of a hotel in Fremont. The van’s owner said she was delivering 28 dogs to either private owners or a no-kill shelter when she pulled over to get some rest. The dogs were left in their crates inside the van with the engine running and the air conditioning on.

“I normally sleep in the van with the dogs, but there were no rest areas or truck stops for a long time. I was tired. You know you can’t drive tired either,” Julie Bingham, owner of D&J’s Pet Transport.

Police used the van’s GPS to track it to Oakland where they arrested the alleged thief and recovered two dozen dogs. Fremont police said it appears four dogs were missing and are believed to have been sold before the van was recovered.

“I just want my dog back,” said Fable’s owner, Tracy Smith, from her home in Oregon. Smith was waiting for Fable to be delivered to her home before receiving the bad news Monday.

“I don’t have children. That’s my baby. I feel like someone has taken my child,” Smith said.

Fremont police said Fable may have been purchased by a man who then gifted the puppy to a family member. Based on a Facebook post, police believe the man renamed the dog Bella. Authorities were trying to locate a woman who may have had information on the whereabouts of Fable, though police stressed that the woman was not in trouble.

“I am so happy to say that Fable is safe and in our custody tonight. I want to thank the people who had her and took care of her. They did not know that she was stolen, and turned her over to us,” Smith said.

One of the other missing dogs is Papo, a brown English Bulldog puppy that was being taken to a new home in Washington.


Fremont Police are urging anyone who knows where the puppy ended up to come forward.

Rescue dog Ava reunited with her owner, Dustin Rodrigues (Photo: Rodrigues)

On Wednesday, rescue dog Ava was also reunited with her owner Dustin Rodrigues, who is from Washington state. Rodrigues said Monday that he didn’t even know Ava was missing until he saw her in a news story after the stolen van was recovered.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Papo is asked to call Fremont Police Dispatch at 510-790-6800 x 3 or sending an anonymous tip by texting Tip FremontPD followed by a short message to 888777.