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The disappearing dogs of San Francisco

Dog owners in San Francisco’s Mission District are keeping a tighter leash on their pets in the wake of two recent disappearances — both suspected to be thefts.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” said Mission police officer Steve Bucy. “Some of these dogs have a high resale value, or they can be trained to fight.”

According to Missionlocal.org — a neighborhood news website developed by the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism — two recent cases involve dog owners who were momentarily out of eye contact with their pets.LUCY

Bill McLoed said his family dog, Lucy disappeared last week  near the tennis courts at Dolores Park. The dog was with his step daughter, who was reading a book in the park when she looked up and saw the dog had vanished.

McLoed thought a homeless person might have stolen Lucy,  an 8 year-old border terrier with a limp who has been visiting the park routinely for the last several years, off leash. “They use them for space heaters or to get sympathy,” he said.

After a conversation with San Francisco Animal Control, however, he’s changed his mind. “They said it’s unlikely that Lucy was stolen by a homeless person, that mostly happens in Golden Gate Park where junkies snatch them for ransom.”

Animal Control staff told him that dogs are sometimes lifted just for being off leash, to teach the owner a lesson. “The Shelter said it happens a lot in the Castro,” he added.

CHIRPAAlso about a week ago, Ronnie Salmeron, a bar manager, lost his 3-year old dog, Chirpa. “He had to have been stolen, it happened way to fast,” said Salmeron. “Someone came up to my friend when we were looking, and said they saw someone running away with something in his arms.”

Salmeron has posted more than 600 posters and has launched a Facebook campaign to find his dog.

“A purebred Yorkie, like him, can cost over $2000, and for all I know my dog could be in a fight right now.”


Comment from Justin
Time September 8, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Such a sad story but thank you for writing the post, people need to be aware of the dangers of dognapping. If you are looking for some helpful tips on safely exploring the city with your dog check out this link http://www.fidofactor.com/spca/tips/2