The owner of a Dunwoody pet store opened fire on two people who broke into the shop overnight to steal dogs, authorities said.
No one was struck by gunfire, and the would-be thieves escaped without taking any animals, according to police.
The incident occurred shortly after midnight Thursday at the Petland on Ashford Dunwoody Road, police said.
The pet store chain has been the target of frequent break-ins in recent months, with thieves typically stealing more expensive puppy breeds worth thousands of dollars.
Thursday’s incident marked the fourth time since March the Dunwoody location was targeted.
According to police, the store’s owner was sleeping in the back of the shop when two men used a trash can lid to break in through a window near the store’s front entrance.
The suspects reportedly entered the kennel and grabbed three French bulldogs before the owner confronted them with a shotgun and attempted to hold them at gunpoint until police arrived.
“The owner reported one of the males moved toward him and he fired one round, hitting the wall behind the suspect,” Dunwoody police spokesman Sgt. Robert Parsons said. “The suspect fled out the front window and the second suspect fled toward the rear of the store, dropping the dogs.”
Surveillance video obtained by Channel 2 Action News appears to show the second suspect scrambling to escape through the ceiling while holding a crowbar.
The SWAT team was called in after hearing shots were fired during the burglary. Police surrounded the store but the suspects were gone by the time they arrived, authorities said.
“I’m just so thankful they didn’t get away with any puppies this time,” said co-owner Danielle McGinniss, who recently installed a security system to deter the thefts. “That’s the worst part is losing the puppies.”
McGinniss initially told Channel 2 the man with the shotgun was an armed security guard, but police said Friday he is actually her business partner.
A photo obtained by the news station appears to show holes from the shotgun blast in one of the store’s walls.
Police have not released a description of the most recent suspects, but McGinniss said she believes the same two people are breaking into her shop.
“We’ve lost so many puppies each time,” she said. “I think we’re down 20 puppies right now, so it’s not even the monetary value so much as the puppies themselves.”
Police said the burglary investigation is ongoing.
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