Puppy gagged, left to die in suitcase had been stolen

Associated PressAugust 30, 2012 

Dennis Preslan pets Scrappy Wednesday afternoon, August 29, 2012 after the dog was reunited with his owner Lyndsey Moeller and litter mates. Scrappy was found in a suitcase in a dumpster by Preslan after being stolen from his home.

ERIC ENGMAN/ FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS-MINER

FAIRBANKS -- Scrappy the puppy is living up to his name.

Not only did the 4-month-old puppy survive being gagged, put in a suitcase and thrown in a trash bin, but now he's back home and playing with his litter mates.

It turns out Scrappy, a Labrador-pit bull mix, was stolen.

On Wednesday, the black pup showed no signs that he even remembered being gagged with a bandanna, zipped into a suitcase and put in the trash, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. It is unknown how long the puppy was in the suitcase.

But Scrappy just might remember the nice man who found him. Dennis Preslan, of North Pole, had wanted to adopt Scrappy but was happy to visit with him at his home and watch him play with three litter mates.

Preslan said he knew something wasn't right on Aug. 12 when he noticed the older-style suitcase on top of the trash in the private bin behind a North Pole baseball park. Preslan uses the trash bin for his janitorial business.

When he partially unzipped the bag, Preslan got a fright. What he saw was an eye looking back at him and a black nose. When he continued to unzip the bag, Scrappy jumped out and ran off. Preslan and his wife returned to the park first thing the next morning and the pup was there.

Scrappy ran right up and sat down. That's when they noticed the gag.

Preslan took the pup to a vet. Scrappy spent more than a week at a Fairbanks animal shelter while police investigated, and his owners verified that he was their dog with veterinary records and an old photo.

Scrappy was given to Lyndsey Moeller as a birthday present by her stepmother. He's named for a dog in the Adam Sandler movie "Don't Mess With the Zohan."

Moeller suspects someone she knows took the puppy out of retaliation. She has since moved so that Scrappy can't be stolen again.

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