Dog Eats Money, U.S. Mutilated Currency Div. Steps In

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A wily, one-eyed golden retriever from Montana named Sundance ate five Benjamins ($500 USD) worth his owner's money last year, and the Mutilated Currency Division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury replaced it.

Owner Wayne Klinkel was eating lunch with his wife, when Sundance got into a car cubby and ate the bills. Klinkel, a graphic designer in Helena, said when he'd returned to his car, all that was left was $1, along with a telltale remnant of a hundred dollar bill. Klinkel declared that Sundance is "notorious for eating paper products," and that he "knew right away what had happened."

Klinkel had rescued Sundance from an animal shelter 12 years before, and the dog had later lost his left eye to surgery. For days after the $500 lunch, Klinkel followed Sundance around in the snow, collecting the remains of the cash. He'd left the frozen remnants outdoors in a baggie, and after weeks of hesitation, Klinkel thawed the dirty money in some soapy water. Who knew to add the soap?

Using a hose and a mining screen, Klinkel was able to isolate the shredded money fragments for reassembly. "It was sort of like putting the puzzle pieces back together," Klinkel said. He then ran the taped-up bills over to the Federal Reserve in Helena, which in turn told him to take a hike.

Klinkel was eventually referred to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Mutilated Currency Division, where he mailed the befouled bills with a notarized letter on April 15. "There was no guarantee I was going to get anything back," Klinkel said.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing, when mutilated cash is submitted, a letter should be included stating the estimated value of the currency, and an explanation of how the money became mutilated. Each case is carefully looked over by an experienced mutilated currency examiner. The amount of time needed to process each case varies with its complexity, as well as the caseload of the examiner. No word on how all of this works during a government shutdown.

Though, the treasury department offers reimbursement for some proven cases of mutilated money, but it might take up to two years.

Still, Klinkel finally received a check for $500 in the mail from the treasury on Monday. Alas, no one at the treasury was available for comment, as all department representatives are furloughed.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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