Updated: 6:53 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 | Posted: 5:07 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013

Iconic bulldog statue stolen from Athens business

By Diana Davis

ATHENS, Ga. —

Athens police want to know who stole a large Georgia bulldog statue from outside an Atlanta Highway business.

Channel 2's Diana Davis met with the business owner, who says she saw the thieves pull away with a huge statue in the back of a late-model pickup truck.

A few dozen of the individually designed and decorated bulldog statues are scattered all over Athens, and they are pretty hard to miss.

One statue that used to sit in front of an Atlanta Highway Pet Rescue Center is now just a memory. It was filched Tuesday night from a now-empty concrete slab. The bolts were sawed off.

"It was right over here on the hill. We put him on the hill so it would be the first thing you see when you come into Athens," said Pet Zone Rescue Center operator Kate Carpenter.

The statue is covered in a red and black fan design. It originally sat in front of a downtown Athens bank, but the owners of the Pet Rescue Center got him a few years ago.

"We had a lot of people that would come like they do with all the bulldogs. They would come and get their picture taken, and it's part of their vacation or trip," said Carpenter.

The Pet Zone Rescue Center just recently shut down. Carpenter told Davis she ran out of money for electricity and heat. She told Davis that she has her own theories about who took off with the bulldog.

"I think it's somebody that just decided that we were closing and they were just going to take it upon themselves to help themselves. I mean, I think it's as simple as that," said Carpenter.

Carpenter also wonders how the thief will be able to hide loot this big.

"It was about 4 feet high and probably 4 feet wide. It just doesn't make any sense that someone would steal it and take him out of Athens," Carpenter said. "I say, 'You better watch out; you better not pout. You better not cry, because somebody is going to see that bulldog, and it's going to be back in Athens soon.'"

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