Officers said that at around 11:30 a.m. on August 9, a man went to a shelter in the area of River Street and Queen Street East, leashed the dog and walked out the front door with it.
According to investigators, the man had been to the shelter on three previous occasions, demanding to be given a free dog. He was turned away each time.
After receiving tips from the public, police have identified 31-year-old Christopher Rich as the suspect.
Officers said Rich was last seen on an eastbound GO train leaving Oshawa station later that day.
Police described the dog as a tan-coloured retriever and hound mix named Milo.
Hannah Sotropa, a spokesperson for THS, told Global News on Friday evening that the man first came by the shelter on Thursday looking to adopt a dog. She said he was escorted off the property.
“He became very belligerent with the staff. He also claimed he was ex-military,” she said, adding the man didn’t return that day.
“When he came back (Friday), he was wearing a hat, sunglasses, a completely different outfit. He was kind of unrecognizable by the staff and the security when he came in. He was in the shelter for under five minutes.”
She said that’s when the suspect walked straight to the kennels, leashed Milo and walked out.
Sotropa said Milo was set to go to a Paws in the Park adoption event at Woodbine Park over the weekend.
Rich, 31, was arrested in Pickering by the Durham Regional Police Service on Sunday and was charged with theft under $500, fail to comply with probation and possession of property obtained by crime.
He will appear in a Toronto court on Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-5100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
–With files from Nick Westoll and Katherine Aylesworth
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.