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Medical Bills Mount After Stolen Puppy Returned Sick

By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4) - After a week-long search, a puppy stolen from her front yard in Denver was reunited with her family.

It was the phone call Zoe's family had been waiting for for days.

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(credit: Jaime Gastelle & Yoann Hispa)

Someone had found Zoe, and while she was alive, she wasn't doing well.

Yoann Hispa and Jaime Gastelle rushed to a park near Denver's Auraria Campus where they met a young man and his sister.

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(credit: CBS)

"Do you think they had anything to do with it?" asked CBS4's Jamie Leary.

"No, no," said Hispa. "They were passing by and helping and they saw Zoe crossing the street and almost got run over."

Hispa said he offered the pair the $1,000 reward, but they refused.

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(credit: CBS)

Hispa spent the next 12 hours with Zoe at the animal hospital. She was running a fever and not eating.

"She's still not moving, and she has problems walking," said Hispa.

When Hispa brought her home to his children, she had just enough energy to smother 12-year-old Elisabeth with kisses.

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(credit: CBS)

Elisabeth, an aspiring veterinarian, spent all day Monday by Zoe's side feeding her through a syringe.

"She used to be really active all the time, but now she's just kind of laying around," Elisabeth said. "I am just going to keep taking care of her."

Hispa and his family are still perplexed by the entire ordeal. He believes the thieves let Zoe go after the video of the theft went viral.

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(credit: CBS)

"It's likely that she spent like three nights outside in very cold weather," he said. Hispa believes this is how Zoe became so sick.

He has a message for the thieves:

"I'm hoping they realize they've hurt an entire family. They've cost several thousand dollars in medical bills and it's going to run even more."

Despite not knowing what exactly happened to Zoe, the brazen theft has opened the family's eyes.

"I was mostly just shocked that anybody would actually do that," said Elisabeth. "I am just happy she is home."

Hispa said going forward, he's not going to let Zoe out of his sight.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the mounting medical expenses. Hispa says anything beyond the cost to help the dog will be donated to a local animal shelter.

Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn't imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.

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