DURHAM, N.C. -- Missing since Wednesday, the Holmes family in Durham is pleading for someone to return Bella, their 10-year-old Maltese.
Kerry Holmes says she was getting groceries out of her car when suddenly Bella wandered away.
“She's like a member of our family, she is a member of our family,” she said.
And then the family says their neighbor saw her being picked up by a stranger.
“She said that she had stopped to get the dog, but this other person had already gotten it,” Holmes said of their neighbor. “So she just went about her business thinking that person would call us.”
A day later they did get a call. But it wasn't what they expected. The dog was being held for ransom. So the family filed a police report and put up signs.
“Please, please bring our dog back,” said Scott Holmes. “We aren't trying to get you in trouble. We aren't trying to be mean to you.”
The family is hoping the dog will be safely returned.
CNN contributed to this story.