In Toronto, Canada there have been two shocking dognapping crimes within days. What can we learn from them to help us protect our Morkies?
4 thugs on bikes stole a small dog from the owner at knifepoint in a North York park on November 15th.
Police say a man was walking his dog when he was approached by four men, all riding bicycles. They say one of the men punched the dog owner, another put a knife to his throat, then the group took the dog and fled.
“Charlie,” a white female Shih Tzu-Pomeranian mix, has not been seen since and the owners are absolutely distraught. Charlie is four years old, has long white hair, weighs 10 to 15 pounds and was wearing a blue Maple Leafs sweater and a black harness.
Just 3 days later, a white Ford panel van containing 16 dogs was stolen outside a condo in the Fort York area of Toronto! The dog walker who owns the vehicle says the van was left running, but was locked.
This city of nearly 3 million went crazy. Social media went crazy. Who would steal a truck full of dogs? And did he want the truck and just got the dogs? Or the other way around?
This incident has a happier ending than our first story; within 24 hours, all 16 stolen dogs (and the dog walker’s van) were found. All dogs are safe and sound, and very happy to be home.
The thief hasn’t been found yet, but Toronto’s finest are not giving up.
What can we learn from these two very different incidents?
Police say purebred and designer dogs are prime targets — especially smaller breeds like Pomeranians, Yorkies and Boston Terriers — but even larger and mixed-breed dogs can be vulnerable. An adorable Morkie would make an ideal victim.
The ugly trade of pet theft is a serious problem. It is an organized, multimillion dollar business that lurks in shadows and goes unnoticed until it strikes your community, your home, your pet. Protecting your dog takes due diligence.
- First, never ever leave your dog outside a store or restaurant. It takes a thief just a moment to grab your pet.
- Second, think twice about leaving him alone in your yard – even if it’s the back yard, unless the fence is at least 6 feet high and padlocked. Again, thieves can jump a fence quickly and grab him. The safest place for your pets when you’re not home is INDOORS. This includes cats, too!
- Third, if in doubt, treat your dog like you would your child. NEVER! — leave your dog unattended in a public space. Just as you wouldn’t dream of leaving your child locked in the car while you shop or tied to a pole while you stop to get coffee, it’s never safe to do these things to your dog, either.
- Fourth, always check references. If you are considering hiring a pet sitter, dog walker, groomer or even a trainer, do your due diligence first. Ask for references and call them. Read online reviews. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a professional he or she knows and trusts. Criminals can easily pose as professionals.
- Fifth: get your dog some form of permanent identification, like a microchip, and make sure you have all of the documents necessary to prove ownership of your dog in case he or she ever does go missing and is recovered. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for dogs to be stolen by a former romantic partner or roommate. Some experts suggest that you never put your dog’s name on his tag. The thinking is, that a dog is much more likely to go to (and with) a stranger who calls him by name.
- Six: Spay or neuter your Morkie. While your veterinarian will probably recommend that you do this anyway for good health, spaying or neutering your dog will help make your best friend less desirable of a target to thieves, since they won’t be able to produce — and profit from — offspring.
Next: a happy ending for one dognapping – and the lessons learned.