One of six mixed-breed puppies stolen from outdoor cages at the Turangi SPCA in late November has turned up in Te Puke.
SPCA manager Stacy Lewis says she had all but given up hope of ever seeing any of the puppies again after pleas for their return in the media and on social media turned up nothing.
She says news that one of the puppies had been found came on Monday after she received a phone call from a Western Bay of Plenty council dog ranger.
Hunter was one of three puppies who had been picked up by the ranger in Te Puke around 10 days ago.
The ranger had taken the puppy home with the intention of finding him a home.
She only decided to scan him this week after finding a family who wanted to adopt him.
"She found he had a microchip, was registered in the system and had also been stolen and got straight on the phone."
Stacy says unfortunately neither of the other two puppies the ranger recovered with Hunter came from the Turangi SPCA.
She drove to Te Puke on Tuesday and was briefly reunited with the puppy after confirming it was one of the stolen dogs.
"He was thin and very timid but in good condition and happy, and the ranger had done a great job fostering him."
Stacy said a good family had been found and she was happy to surrender Hunter to his new home and return to Turangi empty handed.
She is now hoping some of the other stolen puppies might also turn up.
"If we can find one maybe we can find the rest and there will be no questions asked if we can just get them back."