A Marine plead guilty to stealing his ex-wife’s service dog following a lengthy social media hunt.
Pablo Cortez pled guilty Tuesday in San Diego County Superior Court to one count of misdemeanor petty theft, according to KGTV. Cortez was facing two felony charges, but both parties dropped the charges.
Cortez was sentenced to pay his ex-wife Alexandra Melnick $1500 in restitution — with that he was also sentenced to five days of community service.
Kai, a German shepherd, went missing around Thanksgiving 2014 and a massive search for the service dog was underway.
Cortez’ ex-wife, Melnick, who is also a Marine, registered Kai as a service dog, stating he helped her cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Melnick’s “Bring Kai Home” Facebook page went viral and she appeared on TV several times, pleading for her dog’s return.
Nine months later, Kai was found in Texas with her ex-husband’s father — Melnick claimed she didn’t know the dog was there, but Cortez insists she did.
Cortez’s attorney says the couple’s divorce complicated custody of Kai.
“It was a divorce that went wrong. She wanted custody of this dog. He had the dog and she would do anything she could to get the dog back, which means also not telling people about the background of the dog,” explained Cortez’s attorney to ABC10.