KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says it has recovered a 21-year-old service dog, stolen from a Vietnam veteran last month.

  • Kira, a 21-year-old Pomeranian, was recovered Sunday
  • Two women charged with grand theft
  • Kira's owner, veteran Joseph Hanson, died a day earlier

Unfortunately, the veteran has passed away.

Deputies said they found Kira on Sunday, and she's in good health.

Sheriff Russ Gibson said arrest wanrrants have been issued for Jennifer Gotschall and Monique Cosser, who detectives say stole the dog from Joseph Hanson at Old Town on October 27. 

Hanson had his two Pomeranians with him. They helped him with his post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Gibson said one of the women got into an argument with Hanson while the other took Kira. 

The two women have been arrested on grand theft charges.

The Sheriff's Office, however, will not be able to reunite Hanson with his pet.

Friends tell Spectrum News that Hanson, who was 67, was found unresponsive on Saturday — a day before Kira was found. Hanson was taken to a hospital, where he died Tuesday. He reportedly suffered from several heart attacks. 

Longtime friend Julianne Jackson said she tried to tell Hanson the good news, but it was simply too late. Jackson claims nurses wrote on a whiteboard in his hospital room, “Kira is safe with Julianne.”

Jackson, who runs an an animal rescue, is taking in the two dogs.

“No doubt in my mind that (the theft) had something to do with (his condition deteriorating). He was so distraught, it was terrible. Just horrible,” Jackson said. 

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said Kira was recovered with the help of media reports, the public, Old Town, the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Winter Garden Police Department.

Reporter Stephanie Bechara contributed to this story.

Veteran Joseph Hanson and his service dogs Kira and Star. (Courtesy of Roberta Saxton)
Veteran Joseph Hanson and his service dogs Kira and Star. (Courtesy of Roberta Saxton)