A homeless Vietnam veteran is looking for his service dog, after it was stolen by two people.
Mike Heath, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has been hanging handwritten fliers around the Twin Cities hoping someone will recognize his dog and return it, the Star Tribune reports.
Baby – a 10-year-old Shitzu-poodle mix – was taken on April 30 by two people Heath knew, the Bloomington Police Department says. Those same two people are also accused of draining funds from Heath's bank account.
According to KARE 11, Heath was splitting a motel room with another homeless man to save money when he and his female friend took Baby.
Heath is offering a $200 reward for his dog – and he's been sleeping in his car to save up the money to pay it, KARE 11 notes.
"I bet he’s sitting by the door somewhere waiting for me to come back. I hate it that in the late stages of his life, he doesn’t have me," Heath told the Star Tribune.
Police say Heath relies heavily on Baby to manage his PTSD, the release notes.
The Bloomington Police Department says it seems to be a case of a vulnerable adult who someone took advantage of, and they're investigating for possible felony charges, a news release says.
Anyone with information on Baby is asked to call Bloomington police at 952-563-4900.
Veterans and homelessness
Veterans are more likely than other groups to experience homelessness, the National Alliance to End Homelessness says, and nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports.
On any given night there are an estimated 47,725 veterans without a place to sleep, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
One of the most substantial risk factors for homelessness is PTSD, the National Alliance to End Homelessness notes. And veterans are at a higher risk than others to suffer from the disorder due to their experiences while in the military, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says.
It is estimated that roughly 30 percent of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime, while 11-20 percent of those who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom experience PTSD in a given year, the VA says.