Three Alaskan husky dogs, reportedly stolen yesterday morning from a farm in upper Montgomery County, were recovered last night by county police in time, authorities said, to lead a 25-dog team in pulling three sleds on wheels down Pennsylvania Avenue in today's Inaugural Parade.
Valued at more than $5,000 each, "Feets," "Candy" and "Joey" -- each renowned in Alaska for leadership and sled-pulling prowess -- disappeared a few minutes after midnight from a Damascus farm where they had been staying since being flown here. Appeals for their return were broadcast by several radio stations.
A tip telephoned to police in connection with the county department's Crime Solvers program, which offers rewards for information, led to the discovery of the dogs in the basement of a house in Gaithersburg.
Cpl. Philip Caswell of the county police said two youths, aged 16 and 17, were arrested and charged with theft in the case. He said no motive has been determined.
All three dogs were in good condition when found. "Isn't that great!" exclaimed Alaskan Joe Redington, owner of "Feets" and "Candy."
Although frantic efforts had been made yesterday to obtain substitutes for the missing dogs, he said the originally scheduled team will much down the ceremonial avenue this afternoon after all.
"Absolutely," Redington said happily from the motel where he is staying. "It's a great team of dogs."