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Puppy Stolen

June 27th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Today's Vancouver Sun:
Animal- rights activists suspected as puppy stolen from Burnaby home
The dognapping of Tommy, a 3 month- old American Labrador puppy, from a Burnaby home may be the work of animal- rights vigilantes, a B. C. SPCA official said Tuesday.
The theft, which occurred in view of Surrinder Minhas, 60, resembles the work of an underground network of animal activists that illegally “ seize dogs they believe are being abused,” said the SPCA’s Lorie Chortyk.
Last December, three Surrey homes were targeted by a group calling themselves B. C. Animal Rescue, said Chortyk. In each case the dog owners were able to fend off the thieves.
Minhas was unable to do anything to stop Monday’s theft. She watched helplessly through a k i tc h e n w i n d ow a s a n unknown man and woman came through a gate onto the family’s sundeck, snatched the puppy, leashed it and ran away.
The woman wore a black vest with the words “ Animal Control” on it.

From page A1
dryan@ png. canwest. com
Minhas screamed and called for her daughter, Anju Parmar. “ By the time I got out, they were out front and the man was in the van with our dog,” Parmar said.

She said that when her mother tried to stop the thieves, the woman pushed her roughly away and “ threw” what looked like an official City of Burnaby notice of animal seizure at her.

The notice bore the Burnaby city crest, a file number and signature, but was later determined to be a fake.

The dog’s owner, Renu Toor, was not at home. She said the theft has “ traumatized” the family, which includes four children between the ages of two and 16.

Toor feels they were targeted, since the yard was fenced and the dog was not visible from the street, but on a deck up a staircase of 15 steps.

“ It feels like someone has been watching us all the time. We are going to be afraid to go outside with the children,” Toor said.

Chortyk said the SPCA has visited the family four times — “ responding to complaints from a neighbour” — but found no signs the animal was being treated cruelly.

Toor denies the puppy was being mistreated.

Chortyk said “ there were some issues, we were educating the family and they did comply with all our requests.”

Complaints included the grandmother and children “ roughhousing” with the dog, and the dog being tethered on a rope.

The family has cooperated with the SPCA, Chortyk said, and installed fencing and a doghouse as requested. “ There was no evidence this animal was being abused,” Chortyk said.

Cpl. Jane Baptista said the RCMP can’t say whether the theft is connected to an animal rights activist network, but said police are taking the case very seriously.

“ It’s a theft,” she said, adding it’s also an offence to impersonate another person with intent to fraudulently obtain property.

The B. C. SPCA is the only organization authorized to remove animals, and they must get a court order, Chortyk said.

Chortyk believes Monday’s thieves are “ either members of the same group that was operating in Surrey, or another informal network. In their minds they are rescuing the dogs.”

“ I want my dog back,” Toor said. “ The kids are just crying and crying.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Burnaby RCMP at 604- 294- 7922, or Crime Stoppers at 1- 800- 2228477.