A Montana man whose dog ate $500 is hoping to be reimbursed by the Treasury Department after he rummaged through the dog's droppings to piece together the mutilated money.
It started in December when Wayne Klinkel, his wife, and their 12-year-old golden retriever Sundance took a road trip to visit Klinkel's daughter in Denver. During a dinner stop one night, Klinkel left Sundance locked in the car, not thinking about the five $100 bills and $1 bill that were in a cubbyhole in the vehicle.
When the Klinkels returned to the car, the $1 bill was lying on the driver's seat untouched, with half a $100 bill next to it.
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"Sundance is notorious for eating anything and everything, so right away I knew what happened," Klinkel told the Helena Independent Record.
But Klinkel had a plan. Cleaning up after Sundance for years, he knew that paper doesn’t always totally digest, so he followed the dog around, rifling through its droppings with rubber gloves on, to retrieve the remnants of $100 bills.
Recently, his daughter even recovered some pieces of money in her own backyard from the Christmas trip.
"She said 'Oh, Dad, look what we found in the back yard,'" Klinkel told the Record. "They found it after the snow had melted. She said they were shocked it hadn’t blown away. Good thing it’s a fenced yard."
Klinkel gathered all the bits of money and soaked them for about a week in a five-gallon tub with water and dish soap. He drained and rinsed the remnants, using a screen made for panning sapphires, and carefully pieced them together with tape.
His local bank refused to accept the bills because they "would have to give them to another customer," so Klinkel researched the Federal Reserve's policy on damaged currency.
He was instructed to send the mutilated currency, at his own expense, to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, along with a letter explaining how the money was destroyed. The Department of Treasury would then examine the money and, if they found it to be redeemable, send Klinkel a check.
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The process can take anywhere from six months to two years, Klinkel said.
"Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens," he told the Record.
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