Community-wide Alert for Dog Owners in El Dorado County
An Urgent Alert to Dog Owners: Many residents have reported brazen dog nappers working the county this last week. Incidents include the two casing properties with dogs. They seem to like the larger breeds.. but they will target a pure breed small dog too. They have been tracked across the county and the public is asked to be on the lookout and to report them to authorities immediately. The suspected dog thieves are described as two men looking scruffy, with some facial hair, and are driving an early-model small red pickup truck with a large DOG CAGE in the back of the truck. Some have observed the truck with a decal on the back.
Gone are the days when your dog was safe in your garden, in your home or out on walks. Over the past few years there's been a big rise in dog theft, dogs being stolen from yards, while on walks, and even people entering your home to steal your dogs.
How can you protect your pet?
- Don't leave your dog tied up outside, this is one of the easiest ways thieves get their hands on dogs.
- Microchip your dog, keep the details up to date.
- Keep a close eye on your dog at all times, even in the yard.
- Be cautious of anyone snooping around you, your dog, your home or on walks.
Some of the reports from this week relate to many different breeds, but German Shepherd Dogs and Rottweilers are the type these two men are most often seen watching. Yesterday, the concern grew as a Pleasant Valley lady reported, "Yesterday my husband and I came home to the dog bleeding. Looks like someone beat him while he was on the dog run. We are on pleasant valley road near... (Pleasant Valley)" Her German Shepard is recovering today.
Although this has brought the concern to a head, this is just one report of many over the last few days. The number of 'missing' dogs has exploded over the last two weeks.
Specific reports include:
About the GSD one person asked, "Couldn't he have possibly been attacked by another animal? Seems crazy that someone would go and beat a tied dog. Hope he's ok." to which the owner said, to which the owner said, "it looks like a human did it I wish it was a animal I would feel a little better and safe."
Another person said, "That must have the same invasive feeling as being robbed to know that someone would come into your yard and do that." She responded, "It's just sad we are new to this side of town and not feeling very safe."
A moderator on the county's busiest neighborhood watch website wrote this:
Guys.. we have a ring STEALING dogs. The last info I heard was a smaller older red Toyota truck with two men and a dog box in the back. Some folks recall there being a magnetic sticker on the door. Can you please tell me the breed and size of your dog? I have a feeling that they might have been trying to steal the dog and he wouldnt come quietly. IF YOU SEE THAT TRUCK, PLEASE CALL IT IN. THEY HAVE BEEN SEEN ALL OVER THE COUNTY DRIVING SLOWLY PAST HOMES WITH MED AND LARGE DOGS. THEY ARE BRAZEN AND WILL SIT IN FRONT OF A HOME OR EVEN PULL INTO THE DRIVEWAY CHECKING OUT A DOG IN THE YARD.
LM added, "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.. do not confront them.. we need to CATCH them.... call them in no matter where they are or what they are doing. Two men, I have been told they are " scruffy " facial hair on one or both." "We have tracked them in one day, folks say they were out French Town Rd, then in Sleepy hollow, then later in the day they were off of 49 north of town... always the same thing."
At another location this was seen:
They spent a solid 10 mins just driving slowly up one street turn around drive past again, stop in front of a house with a dog.. hang around, talk about it.. they are completely LEISURELY! I sooo want them caught. What if we could follow this and get some dogs returned... we've got folks missing nice family dogs.
MMM wrote, "I've seen the truck described by Laura. They were observing my dogs - a rotty and a st bernard. The dogs were going crazy. I've seen the truck described by Laura. They were observing my dogs - a rotty and a st bernard. The dogs were going crazy.'
AB said, "I take it the police know about this, have they seen the truck or had any time of interaction with these idiots... This crap is starting to freak me out!! Super scarey how they have stayed in the area even though people have spotted them. This shows how they don't care and can be capable of anything!!!!"
KV said, "My coworker was just telling me yesterday that they saw this red truck parked on their street and she remembered reading about it on here." [the EDC Watch website]
KRS wrote, "Does it have a funky red color? The truck? If so, there's one hanging around Holiday Market and Safeway"
MR wrote, "Dang! I saw the pickup 2 days ago at the intersection of Motherlode and South Shingle. Only one guy in the truck though. The guy reminded me of Jeff Daniels in the movie Dumb and Dumber. I wish a knew about this beforehand, we would have caught them.
JR said, "Julia Reynolds Thats exactly who I thought he looked like!! Good job!"
KCB added, "Someone that lives on Hazel here in Pollock came home one day to find her white pit bull covered in blood then she found that the person had used her garden hose to beat the dog and put it back neatly before leaving."
KH wrote, "This same thing happened to my Victorian bull dog three Fridays ago. My back yard was destroyed at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. My dog was severely wounded and blood and hair everywhere. I placed a police report. You should too!"
CT wrote, "Saw this truck at the intersection of Knollwood and Country Club Drive in Cameron Park yesterday!"
The website administrator repliied, "The police are looking for the vehicle and have encouraged us to call whenever we see this car. Its not just the dogs... folks like this have their fingers in a few diff activities. PLEASE try and get a license plate number."
The public is asked to keep a look out for these two and the truck. If seen go to this website, https://www.facebook.com/groups/ECWALaAF/, and report what you have seen. (Do go there first and 'join' so you can make a post about what you have seen without delay. By working together as a community we can get these guys off the streets and into the Hoosegow.
Here is a related story: Dognapped! Frightening Facts of Pet Theft
By Yolanda Brooks |
AFEW SECONDS WAS ALL IT TOOK FOR CHIHUAHUA PUP LUPÉ TO SLIP OUT THE DOOR AND INTO THE hands of an opportunistic thief. She was at work in Vancouver with owner Emily Olmstead when the door was accidentally left ajar. Despite Emily's swift action to find her, Lupé's whereabouts are still a mystery.
"I miss her more than anything in this world and I don't think I could ever have a dog again," says a distraught Olmstead, who spent the end of last summer scouring the city streets and putting up posters during her heartbreaking search.
While Lupé was snatched in broad daylight, Husky Keymo was taken from his yard in Jacksonville, Florida, in the dead of night. Just after midnight in February, his owner Ella Jones returned to her home and let Keymo off the leash in the front yard. In the time it took her to get ready for bed, Keymo was gone. She noticed food on the sidewalk and believes he was lured away. In the days following his disappearance, she talked to neighbours, handed out posters to everyone she met, drove around nearby streets, and contacted local radio and TV stations. She also posted his profile on the Petfinder.com website and put up a reward for the much-missed puppy.
"A co-worker gave him to me from her litter and the first time I saw him, I loved him," says Jones, her voice shaking with emotion. "He was a companion, he was like my child and I just want him back home."
Emily and Ella, like a growing number of owners, have become victims of criminals who see companion animals as a quick and easy way to make a buck. There are no reliable figures for the number of dogs stolen in North America each year, as the police often don't distinguish between property theft and pet theft. However, the non-profit organization Last Chance for Animals based in Los Angeles estimates that two million pets are stolen every year, and PetLynx, a companion animal registry, estimates that one million animals go missing in Canada each year.
When Dorothy Pizzuti of Atlanta, Georgia, started the pet locator website Dogdetective.com in 1999 it was a site dedicated to lost and found dogs. Today it also features a dedicated section for stolen dogs.
"We've had a lot of reports from people about their dogs being stolen, so that's why I added that option about two years ago," Pizzuti say. "We average 250,000 visitors every month with 1,500 new members joining each month. About 10 percent of dogs reported as lost are reported stolen. It happens more than I thought it did."
With pedigree dogs costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, it's no surprise that some dogs are stolen and sold on the cheap. Why go to a reputable dog breeder when you can get what you want at half the price? Some steal dogs to use as dog-fight prey, a few may end up in puppy mills for breeding, and others are taken for ransom. Earlier this year, a family from Glendale in Colorado paid $1,500 dollars to get back their Yorkshire Terrier after he was stolen from their car. But there are other reasons for stealing a dog, according to former CBS journalist Linda Fields who runs Findfido.com from her home in northern Pennsylvania.
"There are people who actually go around and look for dogs to steal and they are doing it for a number of reasons," says Fields. "One could be that they intend to resell the dogs to laboratories or secondary sources, which is totally illegal but it happens. There are also scammers out there that people need to be aware of. People will call up and say wire me this money and I will send you your dog back when in fact they have no intention of doing that or they may not even have your dog."
Rumours of "bunchers" stealing family dogs for sale to laboratories have been circulating for years and Last Chance for Animals provided concrete evidence of the practice when it launched an undercover investigation of the dog dealer, C. C Baird of Arkansas. Last summer, Baird, who had previously been fined for animal cruelty violations in 1997, pleaded guilty to a string of violations under the US Animal Welfare Act. His wife, Patsy, also entered a guilty plea and a number of associates suspected of stealing dogs are also under investigation. A documentary on the case called Dealing Dogs was shown on HBO in February.
While some police forces will be happy to file a report, it won't be priority number one down at the local station house. The best chance you have of recovering your four- legged friend is to become your own private detective, says Pizzuti.
"Immediately go to shelters and put up posters in your area," she urges. "Start off with a 3-mile radius. If, after three days, you don't have your dog back, go to a 10-mile radius. Wait five, ten days and if you don't have your dog back, go to a 50-mile radius. Just keep going out. Go up to a 100- mile radius because we've had dogs 100 miles from home in three days. Some people will give up after a couple of weeks but we've had people who have found their dogs a year later. So don't give up."
Real animal lovers can play their part by refusing to buy cut-price dogs without the right paperwork or adequate background checks.
"There is obviously a market out there and the problem is that people buy stolen dogs," says Olmstead. "I feel that if you can't afford to buy a dog, you should not buy a stolen dog. People need to be made aware of what goes on." ■
Yolanda Brooks is a freelance writer who recently relocated from London, England, to North Vancouver, BC, Canada. Hailing from the land of Crufts, she thought she lived among the world's biggest dog lovers but she now realizes that North Americans really are world leaders when it comes to canine worship.
The El Dorado County Website: El Dorado County Watch Animal Lost and Found - https://www.facebook.com/groups/ECWALaAF/