Actress Tricia O'Kelley's deaf dog held for ransom: 'This is like a bad movie'
Walter is deaf, and Tricia says "he is very trusting, and would go with anyone," which may be how he made it out of her fenced-in backyard in Hollywood.
Late Thursday night (May 16), Tricia received a phone call from the man who has her dog. He demanded a reward for the return of Tricia's beloved pet, and when she asked how much he wanted, the unidentified man asked, "Why don't you tell me how much your dog is worth? I could keep him; I could sell him ... "
After settling on a $1,000 reward, Tricia and her husband followed the advice of Hollywood police, which was to obey the man's orders. He had instructed the couple to post "lost dog" fliers around her neighborhood, detailing the award amount, so that he could obtain a flier as proof he was simply collecting a reward. The man told the couple to meet him at a specific gas station with the money.
Before Tricia's husband Adam could arrive at the location with a plainclothes police officer, they received another phone call. "You f***ing lied to me ... I'm at the location and there are cops there," says the man on the other end of the line. "I'm keeping your f***ing dog." Then he hung up. As it turns out, the anonymous man was calling from a 7-11 payphone in another part of town.
Tricia believes the man sent a scout, who saw an unrelated patrol car at the meetup location and panicked. Based on information from witnesses in the neighborhood, the actress believes the people who have her dog are part of an Armenian street gang in Hollywood.
O'Kelley broke down in tears several times while relaying her story to Zap2it. "This is like a bad movie," she says. "I want whoever has Walter to know that he's deaf, to know that he's 11 -- he's a senior." She says Walter has a collapsing trachea and can be hurt very easily if kept on a standard leash.
Tricia sobs as she describes first bringing Walter home, when he was two-months-old and fit in the palm of her hand. "He's the biggest love in the world," says O'Kelley. "He's probably terrified."
Tricia is asking people to tweet Walter's photo and to be on the lookout for him in Hollywood and North Hollywood (the area from which the last call originated). If you have any information on Walter's whereabouts, please contact the Hollywood Police Department, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.