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Houston Dog Sitter’s Shocking Theft: 2 Purebred Dogs Stolen, 1 Thankfully Recovered

Houston Dog Napping: Inside the Shocking Theft by a Trusted Sitter



The Dark Side of Pet Sitting: A Houston Tale of Stolen Purebred Dogs

Imagine waking up and finding your beloved pets gone. Chilling, right? That’s exactly what happened recently when a Houston dog sitter made national news headlines by allegedly stealing two purebred dogs from a client. Here’s the story as we know it:

The story begins with a trustworthy pet owner who hired a dog sitter from a reputable company. Apparently, the burglary happened while the owner was out of town. The dog sitter allegedly took two purebred dogs from the home. The dogs’ value is estimated to be nearly $3500. Thankfully, one of the missing dogs has been found, but the other remains missing.

We’re going to dive into the details, revealing what we know about the crime, the dog sitter involved, and most importantly, the current status of the stolen pets.

Key Facts

  • The Dogs: Two purebred dogs were stolen, with an estimated value of $3500
  • The Perpetrator: Allegedly, the dog sitter hired by the family
  • Current Situation: One dog has been recovered, while the other is still missing

In Houston, a distress call has been raised by a family in search of their missing purebred dog, reportedly taken by a pet sitter they found online. This unfortunate incident happened just before New Year’s Eve, with full details available on Fox26 Houston.

The said family, the Nietens, relied on a well-known pet sitting site,, for their canine caring needs, given the fact that they were scheduled to be out of town starting from December 22, 2023. In their stead, they needed someone to cater to the needs of their three canine companions – Dux and Maxie, both purebred Miniature Australian Shepherds, and Belle their lovingly-adopted rescue dog, till December 31.

It’s important to add a pause here and say that all dog breeds indeed have their unique traits and charm. Thinking about getting one? You might want to check out this in-depth list (1 of 6) featuring everything from Affenpinscher to Brussels Griffon.

Matthew Nieten opens up about Dux and Maxie, informing the newscasters that they are “both registered dogs, and they come from a great pedigree.”

However, their worry started creeping in when the pet sitter they entrusted with the care of their dogs failed to keep them posted, as they had initially agreed.

“She said she was going to send pictures and videos every day,” Nieten stated.

In a surprising twist, Nieten received a notification from the pet-sitting platform, revealing a refund had been issued due to the sitter’s cancellation. The bewildering notification came before the dog sitter had made any contact with the couple.

Feeling uneasy about the strangely unfolding scenario, Nieten decided it was time to involve law enforcement. He promptly reported the incident to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

One purebred dog and rescue found, other dog still missing

Nieten tried reaching out to the sitter after they returned home on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t exactly what they hoped for.

“We got a text from another number we didn’t know, that said we saw your number come across our daughter’s phone,” Nieten shared. According to him, the text went on to read, “She was in a really bad car wreck and is in a coma at Houston Methodist and your dogs are at yet another address.”

Upon visiting the stated address, Nieten learned the woman who lived there had no clue who the pet sitter was.

The Nietens, Houston residents and dog owners, have experienced a glimmer of hope amidst their ordeal. Their dog, Bella, was discovered safe and sound in a local park on December 28. The encouraging news doesn’t stop there. A considerate viewer, after seeing the story of the missing purebreds on TV, tipped off the authorities to Dux’s location, according to an update from the news outlet.

The Nietens got word of this development through a voicemail. The caller was a resident who recognized Dux from the news. Seemingly, Dux had meandered into her property on New Year’s Eve.

At this time, the location of Maxie, the second purebred dog, remains a mystery. Yet, the Nietens are holding onto their optimistic outlook, hoping for a positive outcome regarding her return.

Christy Avery has worked as a veterinary technician for more than five years, caring for both domestic and exotic animals. She has received training as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and treat pet anxiety, fear, and stress.