The case of the missing puppies was cracked last week when the two pups allegedly dog-napped from a local shelter were returned fluffy and unharmed.

Abby and Cookie, two 11-week-old pit bull mix puppies, were returned to the Santa Barbara Dog Adoption & Welfare Group Thursday night after being stolen the day before. The man who had walked out of the shelter with the two pups that day turned them in the next night, claiming to be confused about the adoption policy, shelter manager Caitlin Hill said.

“The story he gave the sheriff is that he didn’t understand the policy and didn’t understand English very well, and he didn’t realize that you couldn’t walk out with a dog,” Hill said.

The man returned the two 12-pound pooches to the Goleta Sheriff’s Dept. after seeing a news story about the missing dogs, Hill said.

Hill said the dogs are energetic and in high spirits, and although they have developed a respiratory cold, they will be fine.

“They seem to be doing good,” Hill said.

The pups were taken from the shelter Wednesday afternoon while they were free roaming, playing with each other uncaged, like they do most afternoons, Hill said.

“People can come in and look at the dogs whenever they want,” Hill said. “We are short staffed and in the afternoons all the puppies are out running around and playing.”

Stories and pictures of the missing dogs saturated the airwaves last week, and articles ran in the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Santa Barbara Independent. Upon noticing the absence of Abby and Cookie, the nonprofit, no-kill shelter immediately enlisted the help of several community resources and local news outlets, Hill said.

“This would not have been possible without the help of the Independent, the News-Press and the aid and support of the community,” Hill said.

The Dog Adoption and Welfare Group, or DAWG, offered a $1,000 reward for the return of the dogs. However, the man who returned the puppies did not receive the reward, Hill said.