Missing puppies returned thanks to social media

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STURGIS, Mich. -- Three puppies stolen and missing for three weeks were returned safe and sound thanks to the power of social media.

Bertha Patino said her family almost gave up hope after a thief broke into their yard and stole all three of their American Bulldog puppies.

"As a family, we felt like something, a part of our family, was missing," said Patino. "We came into our house and nothing was the same. You feel something in the air was not right."

Patino's friend, Paula Carpenter, helped Patino search for the missing puppies with no luck, until three weeks later.

"A tip came in from someone saying their sister-in-law had picked up three puppies just like that and had taken them to the LaGrange Shelter," said Carpenter.

Unfortunately, one puppy was already adopted. Another was safe at the shelter, but the third was nowhere to be found. The two friends almost gave up in their search efforts.

"They were my son's puppies," said Patino. "They just took them away from our house and just threw them on the road like nothing."

Even when hope was almost lost, a Facebook post spread quickly. Within 48 hours of their first real tip, all three puppies finally came home, another testament to the power of social media.

"This really shows us something, if we all work together like a family, anything is possible," said Patino.

Police are continuing their investigation and hope to find the dog snatcher. Meanwhile, the Patino family is just grateful to have their dogs back.

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