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Doug Clark of Marshfield, MO, looked on in dismay as a stranger drove Clark’s Nissan Pathfinder out the gates at the metal recycling center, in Springfield, MO, according to a KY3 news report. He was even more dismayed that his Pug, Dugout, was in a pet carrier in the vehicle and was essentially dognapped.

He had left the car running with the air conditioning on to keep Dugout cool while he himself went inside to collect the money for selling some scrap metal, a transaction that only takes a minute or two. A couple ahead of him had just been paid for scrapping a catalytic converter and had turned to go.

Fred, an adoptable pug

Fred is a pug mix at IL-MO Rescue, MFP, in Belleville, IL, who has had all his shots and is ready for a forever home.

Moments later, Clark went out the door and saw the woman pulling out of the parking lot in a black Chevy pick-up truck , according to Doug’s Facebook page, and watched the man drive away in the Pathfinder.

Now Clark is offering a reward for anyone who returns his dog. He has even offered the thieves the title to the car if they’ll return Dugout.

The lessons to be learned: Don’t leave your keys in your car even for a few minutes and don’t leave your pet unattended in the car. We now can add a new reason to our Petfinder gallery about never leaving your dog in a car:  he or she might be dognapped, inadvertently or otherwise.

The good news is that the iron and metal recycling center caught the thieves on a surveillance camera, and the nefarious pair had to leave identification information when they sold their scrap metal. Chances are they themselves will be nabbed. But anyone in the Southwest Missouri area should be on the lookout for any pugs who are offered for sale. Shelters will undoubtedly be on the lookout as well. It would be great if Dugout were microchipped. Then identification would be solid were he to end up in a shelter.

Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the Clark family as they go through this terrible experience.  We hope Dugout is back with them soon.