Rescue kitten stolen in Boca. Why group says he’s bound for ‘kitt-ness protection program’

Susannah Bryan, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·2 min read

Barley, the green-eyed rescue kitten, needed a good home — but soon the little cutie needed rescuing after being stolen from his cage.

Three-month-old Barley went missing on March 8, just two days after arriving at a PetSmart store in Boca Raton as part of an adoption effort by Fort-Lauderdale-based Good Karma Pet Rescue.

While he was missing, cat lovers posted messages of hope on Good Karma’s Facebook page.

“Praying for Barley,” one woman wrote. “Hope this baby is safe and returned,” wrote another.

Within two weeks, the tiny black kitten was surrendered by its alleged catnapper, thanks to keen investigative work by a Palm Beach County detective.

It all started at an animal adoption event hosted at Petsmart, where a 21-year-old woman filled out an adoption application for Barley, but was turned down, said Deven Soto, director of Good Karma Pet Rescue.

At some point, the woman walked out of the store taking Barley with her, according to authorities.

Palm Beach Sheriff’s Detective Michael Walsh tracked down the suspect after watching surveillance video from the day Barley was taken. He soon got a lead. He noticed the woman in question was wearing a red shirt that gave him clues as to where she worked.

When Walsh confronted the woman at her workplace, she admitted to stealing Barley and agreed to return the kitten.

After the woman returned Barley, her boyfriend applied to adopt him, Soto said.

Barley is now back in foster care with Good Karma Pet Rescue. To keep him safe, Good Karma plans to transport Barley to a rescue group out of state.

“So Barley is now in the kitt-ness protection program,” she said. “Barley is just a playful, happy kitten who purrs and loves attention.”

In the meantime, the detective who saved the day is getting high praise from Good Karma — and his employer.

“A special shout-out to Detective Walsh for investigating and recovering a stolen black kitty,” the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office posted on social media. “Someone had catnapped this adorable cat from Petsmart but couldn’t outrun our detective. Meow that’s what we call a purrrfect recovery.

Susannah Bryan can be reached at or on Twitter @Susannah_Bryan