UPDATED: Detective talks about retrieving puppy, thanks community

Published: May. 30, 2015 at 2:16 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 13, 2015 at 2:16 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Zoey, the puppy stolen by two young women Tuesday from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, was recovered Friday night by Pima County Sheriff's deputies and returned to the Humane Society.

The sheriff's department received a tip late Friday evening, and detectives used the information to determine the suspect's location, said Deputy Tom Peine, PCSD spokesman.

When they got there, they found the dog and called the Pima Animal Care Center, which has a mobile microchip reader, Peine said. The chip scan confirmed that the dog is, in fact, Zoey the stolen puppy.

One of the responding deputies, Det. EJ Gieron, said they were aware of the public's interest in the case.

"We did check the media sites and realize that this is something that is out there and people are actively helping us," he said. "And that's a good thing, that it was out in the media because that's how we got this information, though 88-CRIME."

The suspect, 20-year-old Victoria Amavizca, was arrested for theft and released, Peine said. Because the investigation is ongoing, more charges could be pending.

Police are continuing to look for the accomplice who was with her in the surveillance video, he said.

Zoey appeared to be in good condition and has been returned to the Humane Society.

Gieron said the responding deputies quickly connected with Zoey, but she had to be handed over to Animal Control for proper care. As a night detective, Gieron said it was nice to work a case without any incidents and be able to help a family in need.

"There's a family out there that's already adopted this dog and is waiting for this dog," he said. "It's one of those things where you're kind of smiling, you feel good because this family is going to get this dog back and, you know, be a little bit more complete."

Zoey's rightful adoptive family has been notified of her return but has declined to meet with media, said Lindsey Jones, a Humane Society spokeswoman.

"They are thrilled to know she will be coming home, safe and healthy, soon," the Humane Society posted on its Facebook page Saturday.

The post goes on to say that Zoey is in a staff member's office and has eaten, had water and is playing with the staff member and puppy toys.

"Thank you all for playing a vital role in Zoey's return. It is through your participation in the conversation, coverage by local media and the partnership of PACC that Zoey has been found safe and sound. We are grateful to you all," the Facebook post concludes.

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