What started as a case of a missing pet turned into a ransom situation for one Rock Hill man, according to law officials.
The pet owner's Saint Bernard wandered away from home and was found by a nearby neighbor, but the owner was told he'd have to pay hundreds of dollars to get his dog back.
It's all smiles now for Cassidy Hunter and his two-year-old Saint Bernard named Nahla, but that wasn't the case just last week.
That's when Hunter said Nahla escaped through a fence at his home.
A couple of days later, Hunter found a lost dog ad for Nahla on Craigslist.
Hunter called who'd he thought was a good Samaritan, but that's when he says things turned sour.
"They were refusing to give up our dog and said we had to give them $300 to get our dog back," said Hunter.
"I was literally in denial and shock. I had to call them back twice just to make sure I understood what the stipulations were," he continued.
Hunter then called the authorities.
According to York County Sheriff's reports, a deputy arrived to the house where the dog was being held.
Deputies asked Kristy Schmidt, 37, to hand over the dog, but she refused saying she paid $300 in vet bills and wouldn't turn over the pet until she was reimbursed.
According to reports, that's when Schmidt became uncooperative, was arrested and charged with larceny.
"Whether the dog is lost or out, the owner didn't ask you to take it to the vet, so unfortunately the bill is on that person. And you have to give the dog back. You can't hold someone's pet for ransom, so to say," said York County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Trent Faris.
WBTV stopped by the house where Nahla was taken to get a comment from Schmidt and while she wasn't home, her mother was and put us in contact with her daughter by phone.
"I need to talk to my lawyer first because I have a court date and I need to understand from her what I can talk about at this point," said Schmidt.
Hunter says he's glad to have his best friend back who was a gift from his wife.
You see, his first Saint Bernard died a week before Hunter was deployed for the Army.
Hunter says he also has plans to train Nahla as service dog to help him deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
York County Sheriff's Officials recommend calling animal control if you don't feel comfortable taking a lost or stray pet into your home, but you must hand over that pet if its rightful owner claims it.
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