Thursday, July 16, 2009

Local Dog Owners Devastated by Pet Abductions

By Patricia Adams

A trend not unfamiliar in Queens has reared its ugly head, most recently in Ozone Park, where there have been several incidents of small “designer” dogs being stolen from homes.

Last week, 40-year Ozone Park resident Ken McIntosh says his two Yorkshire terriers, six-year-old Princess and three-year-old Trixie were abducted from the family’s home on 133rd Avenue in Ozone Park.

McIntosh says the family has never had a problem with leaving the dogs out. “We have been doing it for years. Someone comes home and lets the dogs out. We always make sure the gate is closed. While they are out it’s common for us to run to the store or do another errand. We never leave them out for more than an hour or so.”

Last week when his son, 23-year-old John, came home, he let the pair out into the yard before going off to the gym, making sure that the gate was locked and the dogs were safe. But when someone arrived home a little more than one hour later, the dogs were gone.

The gate was closed and nothing was disturbed but the dogs were not in the yard. “Even when we’re out here with them, if the gate is open they never even go near it.” The family immediately started to canvass the neighborhood. “We went to every house, to find out if anyone had seen anything,” said Ken McIntosh But the attempt to get information was futile. None of the neighbors had noticed anything suspicious or seen anyone near the house and the dogs. The McIntosh’s say that since the dognapping the neighbors have been coming to the house to say how sorry they are and to see if there is anything that they can do to help.

Ken McIntosh says there’s only one person who can help us with this — “the person or people who took our dogs. We want them back so badly — you can’t imagine how this feels.” He also says that his neighbors are very concerned because many of them have small dogs and are used to letting them out in the yard by themselves.

The police were contacted but according to McIntosh were unable to make a report because no one saw the dogs being taken.

Now everyday the family returns home, hoping to find some news about their beloved pets. “It’s just not the same coming home,” said Ken McIntosh. “You walk through the door expecting them to come running up to greet you and they’re not here. My wife, my kids, me - we’re all devastated.”

Steps to find the dogs include posting pictures of Princess and Trixie throughout the area and calling anyone they can for help. When asked what he would say to whomever took the dogs, Ken McIntosh shook his head. “Wow — what would I say? I would just say to please, please bring our dogs back. No questions asked.”

And McIntosh warns other pet owners, especially those with small dogs. “You’d better think a hundred times before leaving your dogs out,” he says. “Things have changed and times are different. I’m afraid there’s no sense of integrity in these people. What kind of character do you have if you can steal away a member of someone’s family? They just don’t care. Our family is ripped up over this. It’s such a shame.”

But according to others faced with the same heartbreak, there is hope of getting the dogs back. Dog owners Lisa Connolly and her partner, Rodney Flannigan from Maspeth were faced with losing Benny and Molly, their 4-year-old Peek-a-Poo (Pekingese/Poodle) and 15-month old Shi Tzu back on September 23.

The story was featured on 1010 WINS news radio and in several local TV news reports. Fliers featuring photos of the dogs had been plastered all over neighborhoods from Woodside to Ridgewood. And in early October the couple got a call from a man who said he knew where the dogs were and would arrange for them to be returned.

Luckily, they were quickly reunited with their pups having made arrangements with the caller. They forked over an $800 reward and in their happiness over the reunion failed to call police about the man who had claimed he had “found” their dogs.

Local police authorities say that the scheme involved is very simple. “Designer” dogs are easily carted off without much noise or notice. They can be readily sold to people looking for dogs but even more common is to abduct the animals, wait for their owners to post a plea to be reunited with their pets and then return the dogs to their owners, taking the reward with them.

While combating this crime against small dogs and their owners is very difficult, dog owners, veterinarians, shelters, and organizations that are concerned for these animals have this advice for all dog owners: Take your dog to a vet or any organization that will painlessly inject your pet (cat or dog) with a chip the size of a grain of rice. This chip contains identifying information that will assist people in returning your dog to you. There are internet sites that match found dogs with their owners.

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