Wednesday, March 1, 2006
7 News Features: Dog
Everybody has heard of car theft. Or burglaries. And we protect our cars and our homes. But one of our most prescious possessions may be the target of theives. Seven's Patrick Fraser investigats dog gone.
WSVN--Dogs will be dogs.
Given a chance...They'll take a walk.
"Come on Crash."
In most cases...you'll find them.
"Where have you been?"
But all too often...you search and search.
Naomi Sarasola: "These are signs I posted everywhere in the neighborhood."
Searching and searching -- before finally realizing, your dog didn't wander off. It was ripped off..
Richard Lopez: "Fifteen days of looking for this dog. Not sleeping .. wondering .. dreaming about this dog. Having nightmares about is she runned over, who has her ... or did they sell her already."
Sadly, Richard's chihuahua is part of a growing trend.
Chris DeRose: "What's happening now is we're seeing a lot of pure breds being stolen."
Stolen in a variety of ways. As this surveillance tape shows once in awhile the thief just walks into a pet store and grabs a pure bred out of a pen.
Tony Ramos: "The guy put it in his shirt or in his pants and walked right out the front door."
Sometimes thieves just get a chance and take it.
We have heard of dogs disappearing from cars when the owner runs into a store.
Richard Lopez: "I feel like I was being staken out."
But the most popular tactic used by thieves, spot a dog in a backyard.
In many cases thieves target several animals in a neighborhood -- scoop them up and take off. As Richard put up signs he began to suspect thats what happened in his area.
Richard Lopez: "As you go up tenth avenue, you see not only my signs, you see a whole bunch of other signs."
Patrick Fraser: "Why steal a dog? Money? Those purebred puppies are worth anywhere from 500 to 5,000 dollars. They're easy to grab. Easy to hide. And easy to sell."
Naomi Sarasola: "They can go from anywhere between 800 and 12 hundred dollars."
Naomi's three month old puppy, Bandit, was stolen right out of her yard. The thieves left the adult dog behind. Too big -- too much trouble .
Naomi Sarasola: "There is a big demand for these dogs."
Richard Lopez turned his back on Cosita for just a second -- and he is convinced she did not just wander off.
Richard Lopez: "Five minutes later, three men were out on the block looking for the dog. So if she wandered off we would have found her."
The theft of Richards dog was even more painful because someone called claiming they had him, and left him a message
Richard Lopez: "Hi I think I found your dog... I think so, but I don't know. I guess your not in, so I'll try to keep it for awhile."
Richard suspects the message was left by the thief waiting for a reward to be offered. He put up new signs promising a thousand dollars but the person didn't call back.
Chris DeRose: "We've seen that growing more and more in southern Florida."
DeRose says many of the dogs being stolen in South Florida will wind up in puppy mills.
Chris DeRose: "If you start to see a lot of pure breds being stolen -- small dogs, big dogs, pure breds -- if you see a rash of those. That's purely for , it's because it's for puppy mills."
But even more disgusting, many dogs wind up dead after being used in dog-fighting.
Chris DeRose: "They're used as bait dogs. They'll use collies, they'll use sheppards, chihuahuas. They'll use any type of dog just to train their dog to have the fighting dog to have that taste of blood."
Further frustrating the victims, dog theft is not a high priority for police.
Chris's organization is trying to change that.
Chris DeRose: "It is a crime. They have to uphold it. And not only, are the animals the victims here, people become the victims."
No one knows that better than Naomi.
Naomi Sarasola: "And I am driving all around the neighborhood like a maniac. I go to the pound daily. No sign of him."
And no-one wants their stolen dog back more than Richard.
Richard Lopez: "I'm hoping that whoever bought her realizes they have somebody's stolen dog. If you're out there, please, remember, it's a stolen dog."
Not a missing dog... Not a lost dog... A stolen dog.
Patrick Fraser, Seven News.