Long Island man reunited with dog missing for more than 2 years

Kristin Thorne Image
Monday, February 16, 2015

HEMPSTEAD, NY -- A couple on Long Island is rejoicing after their beloved pet pooch was returned after disappearing during back in 2012.

Robert Vitiello says it's like a miracle. After apparently being stolen more than two years ago, bulldog Bella is safe and sound back home in Hempstead.

"It was like she never forgot us," he said. "As soon as she saw me, it was the best feeling. She came out all bull-doggish, and she started licking me and kissing me with her big tongue of hers."

Someone found Bella wandering around the Lindenhurst area Friday night and brought her to the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. They scanned for a microchip, and that led them to Vitiello.

"When I got that phone call, and they said this is the vet, they said we found your dog Bella," he said. "I lost my breath. I was like what, who? I'm like, I'm Bella's father."

Veterinary officials believe someone has been caring for Bella all this time.

"She looks like she's a dog who's well socialized," said Erika Friedrich, who works at the Veterinary Medical Center. "She had been taken care of quite well. She had good body condition. So someone had been caring for her."

Meanwhile, Vitiello is still searching for his other dog, Cesear, who he believes was taken by the the same person who snatched Bella right out of his backyard.

"I don't want no problems," he said. "I'm not going to press charges, if you just return my dog to me."

That way, his entire family can be complete. But for now, they're just happy to have Bella home and wonder what she's been up to the past few years.

"I wish she could tell me where she was all this time," Vitiello's girlfriend Heather Wahl said. "If she could talk..."

If anyone knows of Cesear's whereabouts, you can reach Vitiello at 516-209-9428. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can drop Cesear off at any local vet.