DOGGONE SHAME: Canine owners say thieves are stealing their animals

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Karma has been missing since April 1.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Dog owners in South Glengarry are holding leashes a lot tighter these days after what some claim is a rash of canine thefts.

Anna-Lisa Kanner is the latest victim in what some are suggesting is an alarming increase in the number of missing dogs in the township east of Cornwall.

Her little boxer mix Karma, who is just eight months old, went missing from her South Service Road property on April 1.

In an interview she suggested it was no April Fool's prank but instead a concerted effort to steal her dog.

"It's like losing a child. This is hell," she said. "They're family members."

And Kanner isn't alone.

Kevin Casselman, an animal control officer for South Glengarry with 25 years experience in the business, said in the last 18 months he has observed a spike in the number of people reporting their dogs missing.

"I've noticed it along the (Quebec) border right up to about Highway 34," he said, adding his theory is the dogs are being taken by thieves from Quebec and re-sold in that province.

Police are quick to point out that there is no active investigation into the complaints.

"Is there a rash? No," said OPP Const. Pete Robertson. "There's all kinds of examples for dog not coming home."

Especially in rural areas, where Robertson said dogs can be killed in a number of ways including being struck by a vehicle, attacked by coyotes, or falling through the ice on nearby rivers and streams where things are starting to thaw out.

He also suggested dogs can simply run away.

"This pops up once in a while," Robertson said of the missing dogs, suggesting he's heard of just one case of a missing dog in the last three months.

But that's not the case, say others.

Casselman suggested he's heard of between 30 and 40 missing dogs in the last year or so.

The problem even stretches into other communities.

Sandy Leduc, a veterinarian technician in Casselman, said she's noticed a slight uptick in the number of people communicating with her about missing or stolen dogs.

One poor woman, she said, has had both her dogs taken in just under a month.

Leduc also agrees with the theory that thieves from Quebec may be behind the problem.

Just eight months ago about 90 dogs were rescued from a large-scale puppy mill in the Montreal area.

The Montreal SPCA and the Humane Society International/Canada seized the dogs, which were mostly Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas which were found in squalid conditions.

Though the laws have improved, said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society International, enforcement remains a problem.

“Quebec remains the puppy mill capital of Canada and it will remain that way until we have stronger laws and better enforcements. The laws have been improved but there’s still a distance to go,” Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society International told CTV News last September.

Kanner said she's searched for days for Karma, with no luck.

"The police have been wonderful," she said. "But they probably don't have the resources for something like this.

"People need to be informed that this is going on."

Kanner can be reached at 613-347-1833 if you have any information about Karma.

Organizations: South Service, OPP Const., Humane Society International Montreal SPCA CTV News

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Quebec, South Glengarry Ontario Canada Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Kevin
    April 08, 2014 - 13:10

    Im an animal advocate and rescuer and a foster family, and have lived in this area for just under 8 yrs. Do you know how many dogs Ive picked up off these roads in that amount of time. I think the count is up to 12 now! Many dogs were dumped, discarded as ppl didnt want them anymore. One was on the run for a long time, was underweight, scared, missing alot of her fur from mange. When she knew she was safe in my backyard away from coyotes and other threats, she slept for 6 hours, and never moved!! She also had a microchip with an address. They called up the ppl. "oh no, we dont have a dog like that" She went through a rescue for that breed and found an awesome for-ever home. And half of the 12 I found were dogs that wondered out onto the roads, "let out for a pee" but definitely not watched! If an animal thief came by at that exact moment, what do you think would happen! Ever see a picture or video of a dog that was used as a bait dog, to train a dog for fighting, its not pretty! The more stories I see about ppl, the more I like and prefer my dogs company! Please make sure your animals have tags, and check to make sure they are legible! (My dogs like to chew their tags) Dont depend on microchips, only 1/4 of rescues and vets have microchip readers! Woof!

  • Chantel
    April 08, 2014 - 13:02

    This week there was a dog stolen in Smiths Falls and another on the Quebec side. Anybody who would do such a thing is a disgusting monster of a human. I hope they're caught!

  • Amy LaBrie
    April 07, 2014 - 18:45

    My dogs, Jackson and Bailey, have been missing since June 22, 2013 and disappaeared from my yard in Fitzroy Harbour, West Ottawa. I keep telling everyone to guard their pets, shortly after my dogs went missing there was a man suspected of trying to snatch a boxer in Almonte. He was dressed in a suspicous manner and was driving ared van with tinted windows and a roof rack without a license plate. Luckily, the owner caught him and confronted him before he could get her boxer into the car with the rope noose he had with him. My neighbours dog went missing and showed up 5 days later wearning a new collar in Chesterville, which is a long way from it's home near Kinburn for a dog that doesn't wander. If every dog was microchipped in Canada, there would be less incentive for people to steal dogs. Meanwhile, owners need to be proactive. Don't leave your dogs in public places unattended. I'm happy to comment on the situation- yes! There is a situation and I truly hope our missing dogs are found.

  • heather
    April 07, 2014 - 17:38

    I am so very sorry for those that have lost their companions ..... a dog's love is unconditional and it tears me up that this is taking place. My heartfelt sympathy to those who have lost their beloved pets !

  • Allison Samson
    April 07, 2014 - 15:45

    There are dogs being stolen, everyday, specially young dogs that have not yet been sterilized and left outside unsupervised. They end up in puppy mills. Being sold for nothing more than money. I don't care if you are "in the country" your "family member" should be ensured a safe environment. Accidents happen, dogs slip their collars if they get spooked or want to chase something but it is our responsibility as owners to ensure the collar is properly tightened and that our pets are supervised AT ALL TIMES when outside. Goodness, we have a fully fenced in yard with a 7 foot wood fence and we STILL monitor the dogs when they are left out. I feel bad for the animals.