Dog owner pleads for return of treasured family member ‘Duke the Dane’

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BUCKNER, Mo. -- How much is a lost dog worth?

For one family from Lee's Summit, Mo., reward money for their missing Great Dane has grown to $4,000, as of Wednesday.

Lauren Onka says she's lost more than a dog. "Duke the Dane," as he's known on social media, is a treasured family member, and an emotional support animal for one of Onka's three children. Onka says Duke, who weighs 168 lbs., has been missing since March 10th, when he didn't return from being let outside.

"This has turned my family life upside down," Onka told FOX 4 News.

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Onka and her husband, Jason, have owned the big brindle-colored dog for three years. Since they've created the Find Duke the Dane Facebook group, the page has been shared more than 300,000 times. People all over the metro say they're searching for Duke. So are Facebook users as far away as Pennsylvania.

"He is in someone's house. Either they don't have social media or they choose not to follow social media or they don't need the $4,000," Lauren Onka said.

Onka also mentioned the possibility Duke was stolen by someone seeking revenge. Both Lauren and Jason work in law enforcement. Lauren told FOX 4 News the family has endured problems with criminals who've sought them out, perhaps in an effort to get even with police who brought them to justice.

"It wasn't too long ago we had trespassers on our property trying to case our house. We are both known as being police officers," Onka said.

The reward has proven to be attractive. Onka says the $4,000 bounty started as a mere $1,000, but local businesses and donors chipped in, hoping to bring a quicker return in the search.

"There are absolutely no questions asked. I don't care where you find him, where you get him from, how you take him. I don't care," Onka said.

"It's my baby. My plea to you is to bring him back home."

You can find the Find Duke the Dane Facebook page here. It contains contact information for the Onka family.