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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kidnapped Canine Returned After $350,000 Ransom Paid

ReutersAldo being transferred by police. Photos showed the dog bound in chains.
BOGOTA, Colombia -- A kidnapped German Shepherd was returned Friday to its elderly owners in Bogota, three days after a police sting operation thwarted payment of a $350,000 ransom.

The dog, named Aldo, had been left by his abductors at a veterinarian's office earlier this week and was identified on Friday, after the story of his kidnapping was published on the front page of the country's largest newspaper, El Tiempo.

Captain Wilfredo Vasquez, spokesman for the police's elite "Gaula" anti-kidnapping unit, said the dog's owners refused to discuss the case, but described them as a wealthy, retired couple.

"They lived alone and loved the dog like it was a child," Vasquez said.

The 4-year-old purebred was taken hostage Sept. 18, when abductors broke into the couple's house, subdued the dog with a tranquilizer and lugged it away in a bag, Vasquez said.

Hours later, the captors called the couple to tell them that Aldo would be mutilated unless they forked over $350,000. They also received photos of the pampered pup bound in chains, along with a tape recording of the warning, "This is how your dog cries at night."

When the couple went to pay part of the ransom at a rendezvous point, six undercover agents -- trained to rescue people in Colombia, one of the world's kidnapping capitals -- were lying in wait.

When the exchange took place a shootout erupted, wounding one of the agents and leading to the capture of two of the dog's abductors.

Aldo was dropped off at the vet's office later the same day, showing signs of starvation, Vasquez said.