Dognapping plot deepens

A man has reached out to Castanet, claiming he found stolen dog Atlas and deserves the reward money.

We’ve chosen not to release the man’s identity at this time, however the individual claims he got the dog from Taylor Galt’s ex-girlfriend on Tuesday in Enderby.

“I have (her) personal phone, and got hold of her and said… you can’t take the dog,” he told Castanet. 

The man claims he put “two and two together” because the name of the dog was the same as one the woman would bring to work. 

“I contacted her. I put two and two together. It’s pretty simple. I worked with her,” he said. 

Atlas the golden retriever was taken by a woman Saturday evening from a property on Taylor Crescent in Kelowna. Surveillance video shows a woman approaching the fence, opening it and running down the road with the dog.

The dog’s owner, Taylor Galt, and his father Ian put a plea out to the public to help find Atlas that went viral. 

The caller alleges he got the dog at 12:45 a.m. March 12 and contacted Ian at 9:35 a.m. later that morning that he had the dog at his home in Penticton. 

“They offered me $1,000 and said 'we can’t afford $5,000.' Taylor should never have offered $5,000 if he can’t afford it,” claims the man. “I said no. Absolutely not.”

But the Galt family says they didn’t want to pay the man because they believe he was involved in the dognapping. 

“I was not going to give that money to that guy. I firmly believe they are in cahoots. I was buying time. And I was showing his messages to police,” said Ian. “I believe he was associated with the person who stole the dog.”

Police arrived at the man’s work on Wednesday to get Atlas back and gave him back to the Galts by 4:40 p.m.

Meanwhile, a Central Okanagan dog tag with Atlas's name on it was found on a Vernon street, Thursday, which would seem to confirm the dog's travels from Kelowna to the North Okanagan.

“I barely know the girl, they are trying to get out of this reward thing… not a chance,” the man said with a laugh. “I make good money, $5,000 is not going to be a life changer, it is not anything for me… it’s a new set of golf clubs.”

He says this is now “personal” and because they haven’t paid he will be suing them in civil court.

“Ya, I want the reward. Who wouldn’t? Everyone was looking... they combed Kelowna looking for this dog. Now he is turning it around because I worked with [her]. It is so wrong, on so many levels, it’s not even funny,” he says. 

Ian and Taylor said they have decided to split the reward with the three people who helped bring Atlas back home. 

“A woman named Jessica and two people who want to remain anonymous were very helpful in the recovery of Atlas and those are the three people who will get the reward we offered,” said Ian. “The money is going to the good people.”

RCMP Const. Lesley Smith tells Castanet their investigation is ongoing, but would not provide any further comment about these claims.

“He is never going to get two cents from this house,” said Ian. “He is still sending me emails, leaving me a voicemail, he is now harassing me.” 

Alanna Kelly

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