OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Two women accused of stealing a Vietnam veteran's 21-year-old service dog while they were visiting Old Town in Kissimmee have been arrested, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.
The Pomeranian, named Kira, was found on Monday after authorities received a tip from someone who heard about the crime on the news. The dog's owner, 67-year-old Joseph Hanson, died the next day.
"It’s sad and we wanted to return his dog to his as soon as possible so he could be reunited with his family member and unfortunately that didn’t happen," Maj. Jacob Ruiz of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies have not provided details on where the dog was found.
Hanson said he was at Old Town with Kira and his other service dog, Star, on Oct. 28 when a woman came up to him and started an altercation while another woman unleashed Kira. He said he never even saw what happened and it was only through surveillance video that he learned what happened.
"I'm looking at Star, and we're looking at each other, and if you could read a dog's eyes -- and I believe I can read her eyes -- she was trying to say, 'I wanna cry,'" Hanson told News 6 on Friday.
On Thursday, deputies said they identified the women in the video as Jennifer Gotschall and Monique Cosser. Both have been arrested on grand theft charges.
"The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is extremely grateful for the assistance provided by Old Town, our Central Florida media partners and our concerned citizens, which all had an important part in helping us find the persons responsible for this crime. A tip was received after a concerned citizen saw the story on the news. Working together, we really make a difference in keeping Central Florida safe and make it a great place to live," deputies said.