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Stolen beagle from MSPCA in Methuen returned; Couple faces charges

Posted by Marcia Dick  November 20, 2013 09:34 AM

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MSPCA-Angell photos

Sophie appears to be walked out the door by the man and taken to the couples' car.

The MSPCA has reported that Sophie, the beagle taken from the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, was returned Tuesday morning by the man seen on videotape along with his wife as they left the shelter with her over the weekend.  

ccording to MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin, the couple is facing larceny charges, but the Methuen Police Department will not release their names or place of residence until an arraignment date has been set. Halpin said the MSPCA has been assured the couple will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The publicity surrounding the case prompted the couple to come forward and return Sophie to the MSPCA’s care, Halpin said. 

The dog is well and is under close watch by the shelter staff, Halpin said. Would-be adopters can contact Nevins Farm director Mike Keiley at

The dog was taken from the Methuen adoption center at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The stolen dog, a 7-year-old beagle named “Sophie,” weighs about 40 pounds, is mostly white with a brown face, and has black fur covering much of her back. Surveillance video from Nevins Farm’s recently installed video monitoring system shows a white couple, who appear to be in their 60s, standing in the adoption center lobby before the man — wearing a white jacket over black slacks — is seen exiting the rear door with Sophie.


Sophie's alleged abductors getting into their silver Jeep Liberty.

The couple was then filmed getting into what appears to be a newer model silver Jeep Liberty and driving off.

This is the second beagle (and third dog) stolen from Nevins Farm in the past year. The previous three dogs all were returned anonymously to the organization’s fenced outdoor exercise area within 48 hours of being taken. 

Mike Keiley, director at Nevins Farm, hoped that the video monitoring system would enable the Methuen police to identify the suspects.

It’s possible that these are the people who have made previous attempts at stealing a beagle from our facility," Keiley said. "They clearly did their homework and knew the layout of the adoption center and how to escape with a dog without being seen by staff.”

Keiley said the couple likely arrived with their own leash, making it easier for them to escape with Sophie. 


The couple in question - circled in red - in the crowded MSPCA Nevins Farm lobby before allegedly leaving with Sophie.

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