Vernon residents are working together to help reunite two well-known members of their community: Eric and his bull dog, Lars.
Lars has not yet been found after he was stolen from the Econo Lodge area on 32nd Street on Dec. 23.
Kourtnei Miller took to the Vernon Rant and Rave Facebook page on Tuesday to ask the public for help finding the seven-year-old bull dog. Miller later updated the post to say there was a possible sighting of Lars at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.
Miller is a friend of the dog’s owner, Eric, who she says can often be seen pulling Lars around in a wagon.
“He’s pretty well known around Vernon,” she said of Eric. “He’s built a lot of relationships with people and businesses.”
Miller spoke to Eric over the phone last night, bearing the unfortunate news that Lars had not yet been returned.
“He’s absolutely crushed,” she said. “Lars is his whole life.”
The reward for bull dog’s return was originally set to $500, but others have since chipped in to raise the reward to $700.
“We’re hoping that will entice people,” said Miller.
In her original post, Miller imparted that while Eric is homeless, he has ample support and inclination to take good care of Lars.
“Whoever took Lars may think they are doing him a favour because they are going through a rough patch and out on the streets,” Miller wrote in her original post. “But this is not the case. Lars is very well taken care of.”
So far Miller says she’s received far more moralizing comments than tips regarding Lars’s whereabouts.
“I’ve had a lot of people make comments about how homeless people shouldn’t have dogs. But I think people need to understand that Lars was very well taken care of. Eric does everything he can for Lars.”
Miller did receive one anonymous tip from a woman who claimed she spotted Lars outside the Gospel Mission in Kelowna with some men who appeared to be homeless. Judging by the description of Lars that was given, Miller said she thinks the spotting was real.
“It really did sound like it was Lars.”
Miller has fielded calls from other people claiming to have seen Lars, but who then ask for money without providing confirmation of Lars’s whereabouts. She said she has no choice but to treat these calls as scam attempts, or else risk losing the reward money that’s been put forward to reunite Lars with his owner.
“We can’t give a reward if we don’t get the dog,” she said.
Miller said she meets with Eric and Lars twice daily to ensure the dog is getting his medication — he has an injured leg and requires the medication. She also takes Lars to her home for a bath every so often and lets him sleep with her dogs on colder nights.
“If you have Lars, please bring him home. No questions asked, we just want to get him back where he belongs.”
Anyone with information about Lars is asked to contact Kourtnei Miller at 250-938-7651.