UPDATE: Beagle that was in stolen truck reunited with owner
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After a search that lasted two days, a Cabell County man and his dog have been reunited.
Kenny, a 16-year-old beagle, was sitting in his owner's Ford F-150 outside a barbershop in Culloden on Tuesday. The owner, 66-year-old Bob Fannin, came out from his haircut just in time to see a thief speeding away in his truck with his best friend still in the passenger seat.
Kathy Carter, Fannin's daughter, said on Wednesday that the truck was found 20 miles north of Culloden along Bills Creek Road in Putnam County. The truck was empty. There was no trace of Kenny or the thief.
Carter and Fannin searched for Kenny in the Bills Creek Road area and took to the skies in a friend's airplane to conduct an aerial search. About 40 people were involved in the search, Fannin said.
They were more concerned with finding Kenny than recovering the stolen truck. Carter said Kenny is more than just a pet to her father, who took his dog to work with him every day.
"I had him all those years and now he's pretty much a big part of the family, a big part of it," Fannin said.
At one point, it was hoped that the man who stole the truck could be found so that they could shed some light on where Kenny might be. Fannin called the Cabell County Sheriff's Office when the truck was stolen and police told him they had reason to believe the suspect stopped at AutoZone in Teays Valley.
A warrant was issued Thursday for the arrest of Stephen Reed, 29, of Putnam County, said Michael Wentz, a detective in the Cabell County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities aren't sure of Reed's current address, because he has had several recently. He was last seen in Putnam County, however.
Officers tried to find Reed all day Thursday. He faces charges of grand larceny in Cabell County, Wentz said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can reach the sheriff's office at 304-743-1594.
Fannin put up a $1,000 reward for Kenny's safe return Wednesday. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger hundreds of miles away, the reward was doubled the next day.
Carter said she got a call from a woman in Florida Thursday morning who had seen reports of Kenny. She offered another $1,000, making the total reward $2,000.
"She had lost an animal before and knows how devastating it can be. It's unbelievable, I'm really thankful that she is doing that," Carter said.
In the end, the reward wasn't needed. Carter's husband, Dwayne, found Kenny at the intersection of Benedict and Signal roads about two miles from the barbershop where the truck was stolen.
Kenny was found "over a ravine and down in a holler," Fannin said. Dwayne Carter heard the dog barking while he searched for him on his ATV.
The elderly beagle suffers from hearing and vision problems. Aside from having a muddy coat and shivering from the cold, he was no worse for the wear.
"It's amazing that after two days with an older dog like this that he was barking," Fannin said.
As soon as Kenny was returned to his rightful owner, he got some crackers and was placed in front of a heater to warm up. Then it was time to go home, where he got a meal and a bath.
Though he was worried at times that he would never see his friend again, Fannin said he never gave up hope, especially with all of the support he received.
"With not knowing where to look exactly, you know, it's just a big, big radius, but I did feel comfortable looking for him," Fannin said. "It's like finding a needle in a hay stack; it's almost an impossible thing."
Contact writer Amber Marra at email@example.com or 304-348-4843.