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'Welcome to Chicago': Clumsy, Sweet Rescue Dog Stolen, Found Dead

By Ed Komenda | March 9, 2016 5:57am | Updated on March 11, 2016 10:59am
 On Sunday, it seemed “TyTy,
On Sunday, it seemed “TyTy," a once-abused, big-pawed pit bull, would soon have a new family — until tragedy struck in the middle of the night in the 3900 block of Campbell Avenue.
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Natalie Sopart

BRIGHTON PARK — Tyler was a clumsy, big-pawed pit bull with a spot of blue fur over his left eye like the cutest pirate patch you ever saw.

The 60-pound rescue dog had poor vision, suffered from separation anxiety and — if you raised your hand too high — submitted in fear, hitting the floor and shutting his eyes like a scared child.

On Sunday, just as Tyler — nicknamed TyTy and Bubby — was getting ready to be adopted, evil struck.

He was stolen at gunpoint by two men who got into the car of the volunteer who was transporting him, pushed a gun to the man's head and demanded cash, police said.

Then they saw Tyler.

"We're gonna take your dog, too," one of the men said, according to the volunteer's boss. "Welcome to Chicago, bitch."

The men took Tyler and fled. A day later, he was found dead.

The robbery happened around 2 a.m. Sunday in the 1200 block of South Campbell Avenue.

The Chicago Department of Animal Control is investigating and planning to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death, according to Natalie Sopart, co-founder of Furever Rescue, the organization that had been working to find Tyler a home.

“Tyler was the most gentle dog I ever met,” said Sopart, who spent a lot of time with TyTy. "He had large, goofy paws he didn't know how to control."

The night Tyler disappeared, he had just finished a weekend visit with a couple interested in adopting him. After the pre-adoption meet-up, the volunteer planned to take the dog to Sopart's home, where Tyler had been living.

The volunteer first stopped at a friend’s home who was out of town to let that friend's dogs outside. He soon got back in the car — where Tyler sat in a harness and black collar on a black leash — and looked down at his cellphone.

That’s when two men got in the car.

Abused by past owners, Tyler suffered from separation anxiety and constant fear.

"He was so terrified of everything," Sopart said.

Furever Rescue offered a $3,000 reward to anyone who came forward with Tyler.

“No questions asked,” the post said. “Our minds are racing and our hearts are broken. … Please, help us find Tyler.”

The post offered some profile information about TyTy:

"Tyler is timid and will pancake to the floor upon human approach or urinate on himself when startled. ... He adores dogs and will likely approach a dog faster than a human. ... When he is most nervous he retreats to corners and winds his body in a tight ball."

On Facebook, Sopart posted a picture of TyTy with the somber news of his death:

"Our hearts are broken," the post reads. "Rest in peace sweet boy."

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