British Columbia

Police retrieve stolen mascot costume after sightings of cycling canine

RCMP have collared a suspect after retrieving a large dog mascot costume stolen from the Prince George Humane Society. 

Suspect arrested after several reports of large husky riding small bike around Prince George

There were numerous sightings of a suspect wearing a stolen canine costume riding a small bike around Prince George. Police sniffed out the suspect and were able to return the mascot costume to the Prince George Humane Society. (PG Humane Society/Contributed)

RCMP have collared a suspect after retrieving a large dog mascot costume stolen from the Prince George Humane Society. 

Ever since the costume was taken from an animal rescue van in mid-September, there had been several sightings of someone in a head-to-toe dog outfit riding a small bike around the city.

Local teacher Susan Phillips says she saw the costumed canine — with blue eyes, a bushy tail and long nose — cycling in the direction of the courthouse.

"I thought of Wile E. Coyote," said Phillips, who didn't know the outfit was stolen. 

"This is downtown Prince George. You never know what you're going to see. So I smiled and kept driving," she said.

The Chance costume had been missing for 10 days, after it was taken from an animal rescue van. (PG Humane Society/Contributed)

Chance the mascot, an adult-sized "neutered two-year-old male husky," is the face of the humane society who attends public events and entertains children at animal-themed birthday parties, said society director Terri Lube. 

"He's a beautiful husky that's been on the lam for a couple of weeks," she said. 

"We actually did not think we would retrieve him," said Lube, who said replacing Chance's costume would have cost  between $3,000 and $5,000.

'It was kind of a new adventure for everybody'

She's glad public sightings helped police bring him home.

"It's funny but not funny," Lube said. "You have to see the humour. It was kind of a new adventure for everybody." 

In recent months, thieves in Prince George have stolen everything from trucks and tires to a tiny home, a hot tub and a backyard fence. In many cases, stolen property is never retrieved.

The Prince George Humane Society use their mascot, Chance, for public education, children's birthday parties, and outreach activities. The dog costume would have cost up to $5,000 to replace. (PG Humane Society/Facebook )

But several public sightings of the dog on a bike helped Prince George RCMP track down the culprit Sunday.

"A female was arrested at that time; however, she has been released without charge pending further investigation," said RCMP Cpl Sonja Blom.

On Monday, police returned the costume, a little worse for wear, to the humane society. Lube said the society now has to figure out how to clean the dirty dog.


Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener has won numerous journalism awards, including a national network award for radio documentary and the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award. Based in Prince George, B.C., Betsy has reported on everything from hip hop in Tanzania to B.C.'s energy industry and the Paralympics.


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