A Chula Vista family said they're baffled after someone found their lost dog and is now holding her for ransom.
“It’s like losing a child,” explained Vance Willer. "Like someone taking something. If you have pets at home you know you hug them. You cuddle them. You take care of them since they're little tiny babies."
The Willers woke early Easter Sunday morning to find their 3-year-old pug named "Teddy Bear" missing from their South Bay home near East Orange and Max avenues.
“Immediately, we freaked out and jumped into our cars," said Willer.
Teddy Bear escaped the home with her two other canine companions, Bebe and Lizzie.
The Willers said Bebe learned how to jump up and open the back screen door that leads to the garage door--which was left accidentally cracked open.
Bebe and Lizzie were quickly found thanks to neighbors.
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Teddy Bear was also found but the person who had her was apparently not willing to return her without compensation.
Willer said someone sent them a picture of Teddy Bear's dog tag, then called his wife from an untraceable phone.
“She’s like 'Can we come get the dog' and they're like 'How much is the reward?' And she's like 'What do you mean? It’s our dog! Let us come get our dog,'" said Willer.
Minutes later, the Willers told NBC 7 they received a text message demanding $400 in return for Teddy Bear.
That's when they told the person who had texted them that they were calling the police.
“It’s heartbreaking there are people out there like that,” said Willer.
As the couple cares for their other pups, they're hoping to be reunited with Teddy Bear.
“Just bring the dog back. It’s not about the money, it’s a family pet. Just bring it back. It’s not karma, it's dogma! It’s going to come back around," said Willer.
The family is now offering a $100 reward for the safe return of their pug. They've also contacted the police for help.