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Dog sniffing for a bargain found wandering the aisles of Dollar General, NC cops say

Screengrab from Liberty Police Department's Facebook

An unexpected shopper who wandered through the automatic doors at a Dollar General store in a small North Carolina town prompted an unexpected phone call to police on Wednesday.

The Liberty Police Department said officers discovered Tonka Truck, a muscular black and white pit bull, jaunting through the aisles when they arrived.

“Man, he is built like a bulldozer,” Officer H. Elder told McClatchy news group.

The comical find led police Chief David Semrad to post a first-person narrative on Facebook about the dog’s shopping adventure, which helped his owners find him.

Facebook Pos_fitted.jpeg
Screengrab from Liberty Police Department's Facebook

Tonka only had about 10 minutes to meander the store before Semrad responded to the call, Elder said.

The dog then led Semrad around a bit before the chief had to use a catch pole on him.

“Seriously, who carries a pole around with them? I think he has ‘issues’ if you know what I mean,” the police chief’s Facebook post says, referring to himself from the dog’s perspective.

Semrad then brought Tonka back to the police station in a cage — “HOW RUDE!!!!!!!” — before crafting a Facebook status quickly shared by residents.

Elder said police handle animal control in Liberty, a town of fewer than 3,000 people outside Greensboro. They typically post on Facebook when it’s clear the animal belongs to someone.

“It’s about 75 percent of the time that if the dog has an owner, we will find it,” he said.

In this case, Elder said it was immediately clear that Tonka — who wasn’t wearing a collar and isn’t chipped — was someone’s pet. The officer said he has a telltale way of knowing.

“I smelled him,” he said. “I know that sounds weird.”

Elder said he can smell a stray from five feet away. But not Tonka, who he said smelled like somebody’s house.

Police don’t know how Tonka escaped — they don’t make a habit of asking owners unless it’s a “repeat offender,” Elder said — but he was picked up within the hour by his owner’s sister.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.
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