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Family suffers another loss: Woman asks for return of ceramic dogs stolen from Geneva Cemetery

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating these two ceramic dogs, which were stolen from Brittany Chan’s gravesite at Geneva Cemetery. The dogs are representative of Chan’s service dogs and mean a great deal to the family. (Contributed)

After losing her 27-year-old daughter Brittany in May, Donna Chan wanted to place something special at her gravesite at the Geneva Cemetery near Alexandria.

Brittany had special needs and had two service dogs over the course of her lifetime. So Donna scoured the web until she located two ceramic look-alikes of the dogs. Then she placed them by Brittany's headstone, so the dogs were watching over her daughter just as they had done when she was alive.

But when Donna returned to the gravesite to water flowers, she found that the two dog replicas had been taken.

"She wasn't supposed to live long and she lived until she was 27," Donna said. "For someone to disrespect her like that bothers me a lot. It's just sad. I cried when I went out there and they were gone."

The dog figurines meant a great deal to the Chan family and were purchased with money from Brittany's memorial fund.

"Brittany couldn't do much for herself so they (the dogs) were always with her during the day when I was working," Donna said. "They were her whole life. She loved dogs, we could sense that she did. I just thought it would be cool to have those out there."

Donna isn't hopeful for the return of the original dogs and says she likely won't replace them, since she is afraid the outcome would be the same and they would be taken again.

"Whoever did it (took the dogs) obviously has never lost someone in their life to go and do that," she said.

Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen says that while taking things from a cemetery may seem minor to the people taking the items, the impact is great on the families.

"In a monetary value it might seem minor, but to families who place those items it's significant," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at (320) 762-8151.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233