VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) -- A puppy thief is on the run in South Jersey. Someone snatched a 12-week-old Great Pyrenees puppy from the Voorhees Animal Orphanage, where workers have issued a plea for its safe return.
Voorhees Township police are investigating the theft, which happened around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Managers say the person knew exactly which puppy they were going to take and how to do it.
"We need to get this puppy back. She needs to come back to us safely," said Jennifer Bailey, the shelter's marketing director.
An empty cage at the Voorhees Animal Orphanage previously held 12-week-old Phoenix, who was snatched within five minutes on Saturday while staff let some of the dogs out to use the bathroom.
"This is clearly someone who knew exactly where the puppy was so they must have been inside more than once because they knew that they could pull their car up and they knew that they could get the dog out right here," Bailey said.
Bailey says Phoenix and her three brothers were recently found in a box in a dumpster in Georgia.
A rescue group that the shelter works with reached out and asked if it would take them.
The dogs went right into foster care in Voorhees.
On Friday, they were spayed and neutered and brought back to the shelter.
"Phoenix was spayed. She's on pain medication that she's not going to have," Bailey said. "That little girl is going to be in a great deal of pain tonight. Her stitches need to be tended to."
The shelter made a heartfelt plea for Phoenix's safe return on its Facebook page.
"If the person who took it is reading this message, we urge you to do the right thing and return her to us," the post read.
The Facebook post went viral. Social media users shared it more than 8,000 times.
"I can't speculate as to who it was or why they would do it," Bailey said. "I only ask that they please bring her back."
The animal shelter is under construction.
There are no surveillance cameras on site. Managers originally wanted cameras installed by the end of the year.
If you have any information is being urged to contact Voorhees police at 856-627-5858.
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