Cruel scam targets desperate Houston-area pet owner

"She just fed on our desperation to have our dog back," said Madison Gibson.

The worst thing for pet owners is not knowing the whereabouts of your four-legged friend.

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"It's been absolutely awful," said Cherie Gibson, Madison's mother.

A little dog named Toulouse has been missing from his Inwood Forest home since last Friday,

"Toulouse is my son, he's a basenji mix, black and white," Cherie said.

Two days after Tootie showed up on flyers and social media, the phone rang.

"She began telling me, hey we have your dog," said Madison's boyfriend, Kazembe McAlpin.

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The caller said she had been scammed.

"To lead with that, I feel like is what gained our trust a little bit, and to talk about how she lost her dad and to be crying on the phone, and to keep apologizing on the phone. I'm sorry it's taking so long. I do want you to have your dog back," Madison said.

But the caller said she needed money to get the dog back home.

In all, Madison says she sent $54 through PayPal.

A cruel countdown soon followed.

"We were on the phone, while the daughter was in the Uber, apparently she was looking on the app to see where her daughter was," said Madison. "She's only 10 minutes away from your house, she's only four minutes away from your house. When it got to four minutes, the phone number cut off that she was calling from."

Cherie Gibson was waiting with open arms and Tootie's blanket.

"I was standing out here in the drizzling rain waiting for him, and he never came home," she said.

If you know where Tootie is, you can contact the Gibson's by email at