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Man asks government to replace $500 his dog ate

April 10, 2013 at 11:25 AM ET

Wayne Klinkel's golden retriever
Eliza Wiley / Independent Record
Sundance, Wayne Klinkel's golden retriever ate $500 in cash; now, Klinkel wants the bills replaced.

A Montana man is hoping the federal government will reimburse him for his dog's expensive taste.

Wayne Klinkel said his golden retriever, Sundance, ate five $100 bills when he was left unattended in the car for a few minutes.

Klinkel, a graphic artist at the Independent Record, which first reported his story earlier this week, left the bills inside a spring-loaded cubbyhole between the car’s two front seats as he and his wife made a stop on their drive to visit their daughter. When they returned to their vehicle, there was no trace of the money — aside from half of a $100 bill on the driver’s seat.

“I knew right way," Klinkel told TODAY.com, remembering he said to himself, "‘Oh no, Sundance,’ and I looked in the cubbyhole and sure enough, it was empty...This dog, he’s 12. He’s been getting weirder and weirder as he gets older, and he will pretty much eat anything and everything.”

One of the $100 bills Sundance chomped.
Eliza Wiley / Independent Record
One of the $100 bills Sundance chomped.

For the next several days, Klinkel followed Sundance around outside his daughter’s Colorado home with a pair of rubber gloves and plastic baggies. From his past experience picking up after the dog, he knew the paper would probably exit the animal undigested.

He ended up retrieving large parts of two bills, and his daughter found additional bill pieces in her backyard once the snow melted.

Klinkel said he washed all the remnants with “dishsoap, lots of dishsoap.” He then dried and ironed the bills, and taped them together.

He took the pieced-together bills to various local banks to have them replaced. The banks refused, but referred him to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where his request is apparently less unusual than it sounds.

“We get an enormous amount of mutilated currency cases each year,” the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, told TODAY. “As long as you have 51 percent of the bill, our examiners work to make sure that the bill identified is genuine, and then you’ll receive a check in the mail once the case is closed.”

Klinkel said he feels "very comfortable" that he has enough of each $100 bill to get his money replaced, but he has yet to submit his claim. The bills currently “are now sitting under an iron to keep them nice and flat,” he said.

He's hoping publicity about his story might expedite the process faster than the six months to two years the Bureau of Engraving and Printing says it can take to process “standard claims."

Until he gets his money replaced, Klinkel plans to remember two things. First, don’t ever put anything of value in his car’s cubbyhole. Second: “No more dogs, ever, will be unattended in the car. We normally don’t do that, but we were gone for 45 minutes, tops.

“But Sundance, he never quits surprising me.”

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