Family Dog Eats $49,000 in Estate Money

Dogs – they are our four-legged best friends. But one beloved California canine did the unthinkable while his family was out of the house; he chewed up $49,000 in estate checks like they were bits of bacon.

“He ate all the paper that was in the house that he could get his teeth on,” dog owner Roberta Kemnitz told ABC 7 local TV station based in San Francisco.

She is alluding to a pile of shredded paper worth nearly $50,000. Kemnitz left two Bank of America checks on her table with the rest of her mail. The checks were inheritance money from her deceased mother's estate.

Jack, their black Scottish Terrier puppy, is full of mischief and ended up devouring the money and the mail.

"I got the checks in March and they just vanished," Kemnitz told the local television station in a recent interview. The checks were not in her wallet, on the table, in the mailbox or anywhere she looked. They were frantic.

The family finally started finding chewed up cables, wires, and paper all over the house. Then, all eyes turned to Jack.

"Jack ate the checks," said Kemnitz.

Being completely upset that the money was gone, she called the bank.

Kemnitz told the station she was embarrassed about the whole matter and just reported to bank representatives they were “lost.”

“The bank confirmed no one had cashed those checks,” she said.

The bad news was that Kemnitz and her family would have to wait 90 days for the bank to replace the destroyed estate checks. Time came and went and there were no checks in the mail.

"I talked to eight different people in eight different call centers and they all promised to send me the money. They didn't send me the money. It just went on and on."

"We were getting so frustrated, we didn't know what to do," said her son, Dan.

At their wits end, they decided to call ABC 7’s “On Your Side” program in hopes some publicity would turn things around.

"Within an hour and a half, an executive at Bank of America called me. I was thrilled," she said. “After our call, the bank promptly issued new checks.”

The family had their $49,000 back and went straight to the bank to make a deposit.

They said they did not want to give Jack another meal made of paper money.

Bank of America representatives say there was a delay because Kemnitz’s deceased mother's account was maintained in a different state, and because the family was calling a toll free number instead of a bank manager.

The Kemnitz family says they can laugh about the matter now, but for a while things were very tense. The family now spends their spare time teaching Jack how to play with his own toys and eat only doggie treats if he's hungry for a snack.

For those who may have experienced a similar problem, a pooch eating up much-needed cash, there is a solution.

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces America's paper currency. The Bureau redeems partially destroyed or badly damaged currency as a free public service.

Examiners in the Mutilated Currency department can piece together shredded, charred and soggy dollars. And if they can verify the money is authentic and determine the value, the Treasury will send the owner a check.

Last year, the division processed more than 30,000 claims and redeemed about $30 million.

Examiners have worked on cash destroyed during the 9/11 attacks and are still receiving claims of waterlogged notes from Hurricane Katrina.

Generally, the bureau requires that you have more than half of the original bill so there's no chance that you'll be reimbursed twice. If you have less, examiners will need to verify that the rest of the bill is truly destroyed.

Watch and learn how BEP examiners piece together mutilated currency: