Stolen pit bull puppy returned to animal shelter

Viewer tip led to discovery at home in the 68100 block of Estio Road in Cathedral City

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - After sharing information about a pit bull puppy that was stolen from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter on August 22, a tip led to the successful return of of the missing dog Thursday afternoon.

Police were tipped off by a concerned viewer that saw News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's coverage of the stolen dog, according to staff at the animal shelter.

The puppy named 'Bunny' was found around 11:30 a.m. inside a home in the 68100 block of Estio Road in Cathedral City, according to police. Officers knocked on the front door of the home, and when someone answered, a dog was seen inside that fit the description of 'Bunny'.

Staff members with the Palm Springs Animal Shelter were called and showed up with a microchip reader. They scanned the dog and confirmed that it was in fact the stolen pit bull.

Officers arrested 49-year-old Richard Lee Whitehead of Cathedral City. He was taken into custody for possession of a stolen dog and for an outstanding warrant.

Whitehead was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

'Bunny' was returned to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and appeared to be happy and healthy, according to a release from the Cathedral City Police Department.

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