Puppy Theft Problem: Brooklyn and Queens Pet Stores See Doggy-Nappings


Today both the New York Daily News and the New York Post featured stories of poor innocent puppies being taken from pet shops by illegal means. Yes, if two’s a trend, it seems like we have a puppy problem on our hands. First via the Daily News we learn that two 15-year-olds were arrested yesterday and charged with grand larceny for taking a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from a Flatlands pet store. But though the perps were caught, the puppy was not, and the teens are refusing to say where it is. Then, in the Post we hear of a February incident in which Jolanta El-Shorbagi, a 57-year-old woman, stole a “miniature teacup pinscher” from a Queens store. In both stories the dogs cost upwards of $1,000. Did the criminals steal these dogs just for the money or were their actions somehow a result of the pups’ undeniable cuteness?

At the Flatlands store that saw the Yorkie disappearance, Puppy Paradise, the owner, David Dietz, is worried about the financial loss of the dog, but also expressed concern about its health:

“I want to care for the dog,” he said. “We treat our puppies like our children. It’s like a kidnapping.”

He said that the pup must be fed six times a day or it could develop hypoglycemia, high blood pressure or become dehydrated, which leads to kidney and liver failure.

The pinscher was recovered when one of the store’s employees spotted El-Shorbagi outside her home and tried to get her to fess up. The store, the Pet Palace, had video of the puppy-pilfering incident.

The woman denied taking the dog. “She said, ‘I want to see this video. I don’t believe it. Show me putting the dog in my bag,'” [Pet Palace owner Suzanne] Caracci said. “But I didn’t say anything to the woman about her putting it in a bag; that’s how she revealed herself.”

It’s not like New York pet stores haven’t faced their share of intrusions from less-than-welcome human-folk. Just this summer West Village pet shops forbade customers from buying puppies whilst drunk to protect the puppies’ well being.

Even though we are highly suspect of pet stores in general, puppies of all sorts should be protected. Protect the puppies!