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Treasury reimburses dog owner whose pet ate $500

Oct. 2, 2013 at 6:18 PM ET

Eliza Wiley / Helena Independent Record
Eliza Wiley / Helena Independent Record
Sundance gets a taste of the $500 check Wayne Klinkel received from the U.S. treasury after his dog ate five $100 bills left in his car.

Last April, Montana dog owner Wayne Klinkel paid dearly for leaving his golden retriever, Sundance, alone in the car: $500 to be exact. But six months after his dog chowed down on five $100 bills, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing has reimbursed him in full. 

"I've been patiently waiting. I'm happy," he told TODAY.com. "I'm glad that all five of [the bills] passed the test."

Waiting was the easy part. To apply for reimbursement, Klinkel, a graphic artist at the Helena Independent Record, had to follow Sundance around with a pair of rubber gloves and plastic baggies for several days, waiting for the bills to pass through the animal's system. Klinkel discovered large pieces of two bills, but his daughter had to wait for the snow to melt outside her Colorado home, which Klinkel and his wife were visiting with the dog, before she found small bits of the other three. 

After giving them a very thorough wash with "lots of dish soap," Klinkel dried, ironed, and taped the bills together. Local banks refused to swap them for new bills, however, so he turned to the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is no stranger to these kinds of requests. 

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

"“We get an enormous amount of mutilated currency cases each year,” a spokeswoman for the department told TODAY.com in April. “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.”

Based on his research, Klinkel believed it would take anywhere from six months to two years to get his money back. But his cash arrived on Monday, sooner than he expected. 

The bill-eating incident occurred when Klinkel and his wife, who live in Montana, stopped for a quick dinner on the way to visit their daughter in Colorado, leaving Sundance to his own devices for about 45 minutes. Klinkel hasn't carried a wallet in 20 years, but Sundance managed to open a spring-loaded cubbyhole between the car's two front seats, where the five bills were tucked inside. 

"Normally there's not even money in there," he said.

While Sundance's $500 snack might suggest he has rather expensive taste, Klinkel said his pup isn't usually that discriminating.

"He's an older dog," he said. "He's been notorious for eating everything and anything."

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