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PET THEFTS SURGE AMID 2021 PANDEMIC

 

Pet thefts are rampant, profitable and rarely prosecuted; police and courtrooms overwhelmed with deadly drugs, the surge in shootings and rowdy rioters.

 

May 11, 2021

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives

 

The editor shared this report from Fred Lanting and asked if I had heard anything about pets being stolen. I said no, even indoor cats would be hard for an intruder to catch and outside, no way! But this is a serious warning for dog owners!

 

Roosevelt Rodriguez… would get home from work, swing open his front door and greet his French bulldog, who’d spin and dance in excitement as he repeated her name over and over again.” ~ Time.com

 

 

This time his Frenchie wasn’t there. While he was frantically searching for her, a neighbor stopped Rodriguez, saying “Someone just snatched your dog.

 

Everyone has heard about Lady GaGA. She offered a super-big reward for return of her French Bulldogs. Incentive may be part of the problem. My friends in Italy said there has been a surge in pet adoptions by people seeking the “unquestioning comfort” only a dog can provide. I don’t exactly agree with that but I get it.

 

My cats couldn’t be caught but the fact is that small purebred dogs are very vulnerable to theft. One of my neighbors worries that her little Chihuahua dogs would be easy to “snatch” and carry away. We had both read about Lady Gaga’s two French Bulldogs being stolen. The thieves actually shot her dog walker!

 

We decided that Chihuahuas and tiny terriers are less likely to be snatched (too quick to catch, wary of strangers and likely to bite) but she said breeds like Frenchies, Toy Poodles and Pugs are at high risk because they are so friendly and in demand.

 

 

She told me about a recent case where armed thieves punched a woman in the face, grabbed her little Shiba dog and left her “bleeding and screaming at the top of her lungs…” Later that day she also forwarded me an email from the American Kennel Club that warned of dognapping crimes and cited a shepherd-mix puppy stolen at gunpoint by three men in California!

 

The next morning I called my friend in Europe and after we “caught up” on family I asked her about dog-napping over there. She emailed me back where she found Our Dogs said dog thefts had increased 170% in 2020 and in 2021 and at least 100 dogs have already been reported stolen “compared with 55 from the same period last year.” She said that was according to Karen Harding, police liaison.

 

The problem with getting any real statistics is that pet theft is only a misdemeanor. If the perpetrator has no priors, the penalty is little more than it would be for shoplifting. I learned that in most states the harshest penalty for first offence is a fine of $100 or less!

 

A repeat offender who police take time to track down may be imprisoned in a county jail “for 60 to 90 days” but with today’s crime rate and the scarcity of police (it has become a ‘thankless job’) it may take persistence to achieve justice.

 

That said, think about how our police are being disrespected in 2021 if God forbid, you ever have to call about your missing pet. You are frantic but pet theft is considered a “minor crime.” Be patient, polite, and persistent. If you can connect with a dog-owning police officer, so much the better!

 

I learned that TheDogPress.com recently received reports of families hiring private detectives and offering no-questions-asked rewards. I looked it up and found that famous dog-napping case where a reward of $500,000 was offered. The New York Post said “Lady Gaga's French bulldogs were reportedly found by a good Samaritan in an alley, tied to a pole, miles from where they were stolen.

 

I did some internet searching and learned that this has grown into a VERY profitable dog-napping racket by professional thieves!

 

 

The only thing funny about that was an article about some lazy thief who tried to steal a puppy from a pound in Texas! Really! It said that Blaise Hull, a teenager who works at the city pound, chased the guy down the street. He was gaining on him when the thief put the dog down. Hull picked up the bewildered pup and the thief got away!

 

I had no idea this was going on. You probably didn’t know either but I bet you’ll keep a closer eye on your little dog now. My neighbor jokingly said I should get a guard dog to look after my cats… I laughed and invited him to try to catch a cat!

Copyright ? 1998 TheDogPress.com 2002-2021   2105 https://www.thedogpress.com/Columns/pet-thefts-surge-amid-2021-pandemic-st21S052.asp

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