Support dog stolen on day homeless man moves into new place in Oakland

Gregory Branscum is worried sick after someone stole his car in Oakland with his emotional support dog inside.

"I would love for somebody to just bring my dog back to me. He's all I got," said Branscum.

Branscum said his dog named Ruff was inside the car with his leash on waiting for him to come back and get him. 

"I told him to hold on a minute," he said.

Branscum, who had been homeless, for a decade, was moving into his new home near Galindo Street and Harrington Avenue at about 7:30 a.m. Monday.

"And by the time I came back down, my car wasn't even visible. It was already heading up the road I imagine," Branscum said. "The first thing I did, I just dropped. All I could think about was my dog."

Branscum had the keys to the white Nissan Maxima the whole time. But the car's ignition was broken. He thinks someone used a screwdriver to start it. A photo of the vehicle with a California license plate: 4AUF075, has been released.

"I just hope someone has some compassion because he's my service animal. It would have been our first night together last night," Branscum said.

Ruff is a little more than 2 years old.

"He's a mix Chihuahua, they call it I think ‘Chiweenie.’ It's like a weenie dog Chihuahua mix," he said.

Ruff's helped him through some difficult times. 

"Yeah he just keeps me content. I have a lot of issues," he said. "He's like a kid to me, my kid. I'd do anything - I don't care about the car. I just want my dog back.

Medical issues caused Branscum, a former forklift operator, to become homeless about 10 years ago. He'd been living in his car and until recently, a hotel, through Section 8.

Rebecca Kaplan, a housing navigator with Adobe Services helped Branscum find his new home. But now it feels empty, without Ruff. 

"The dog has never known that house yet because he was just literally moving in that morning, so unfortunately, all you can do is hope and pray that the dog might reappear," Kaplan said.

For now, all Branscum can do is walk the streets, passing out fliers.

"He's looking for me. He's definitely looking for me he's probably very confused right now, wondering where I'm at," Branscum said.

Branscum is desperate for his dog to return home. Anyone with information is asked to call the Oakland Police Department.

Branscum has organized a gofundme to raise money. He is now offering a $500 reward for information leading to his dog's return.