Sections

Help them find Laika — the stolen dog!

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Who stole Laika?

That’s what the 11-year-old dog’s owner, cops, and the local dog-loving assemblyman are asking since the Husky with a lustrous coat and two bad hips was dognapped from outside Provisions grocery store in Fort Greene on July 24.

Natalie Barratt, Laika’s owner, had tied her up while she shopped at around 8:50 pm, but a man in a wheelchair and his female companion untied the dog, a security camera showed (the shocking video is above).

“She’s a very friendly dog,” Barratt said. “But if they’re thinking of keeping her, they’ll find that she’s a bit of a handful. Because of her hips, she’s having trouble staying housebroken.”

The theft not only hit Laika’s owners hard; it motivated Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Fort Greene) to action.

“As a dog owner I cannot imagine what this must be like,” he said. “If anyone has any information at all, please contact the owner and help bring Laika home.”

Lentol loves his dog so much that he has a framed picture of his pup McDonald in his office, right next to a photo of Lentol kissing the Pope’s ring. He said he is drafting anti-dognapping legislation, though stealing anything from someone is already illegal.

Currently, animals are considered property, whose value is judged as other property would be judged: by market conditions. An unneutered or unspayed purebred dog, for example, is considered to have higher value than, say, a common neutered mutt, because of its money-making potential.

Lentol’s bill would change that, making dognapping, catnapping or other pet-napping its own classification of crime.

A police source said that there are no suspects, but cops have brought in a person in a wheelchair and his female companion — who vaguely resembled the people in the surveillance camera shot — for questioning, though no arrests have been made.

Barratt is offering a $200 reward for the Husky’s return, no questions asked. The dog is named after Laika, the first animal ever launched into space by the Russians in 1957.

Tips can be sent to gonelaikagone.blogspot.com/

Updated 5:28 pm, July 31, 2009: Story was updated with details of Lentol's proposal.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

No longer living in from Clinton Hill says:
rumored dog fighting circuit at Putnam & Grand (somehow connected to Paws n Claws?)
July 31, 2009, 3:05 pm
G. Leonardo -Lewis from brownsville oceanview says:
Im am very very sorry for my
misunderstanding of the dog
as it was told to me and my wife she was left
said a man outside for hours alone so me and my wife being lvoing pet owners saw to taken her in thinking she was left there alone cuz of her age and health
but when i was inform tonight when i came home found the news of the people looking of her
i reture the dog with open arms and my cats said there sad goodbye to there friend/sister
laika AKA blueeyes as we call her for the week she has been with us
please know I am sincerely sorry for my mistake and take full responsibility
Aug. 1, 2009, 1:38 am
G. Leonardo -Lewis from brownsville oceanview says:
Im am very very sorry for my
misunderstanding of the dog
as it was told to me and my wife she was left
said a man outside for hours alone so me and my wife being lvoing pet owners saw to taken her in thinking she was left there alone cuz of her age and health
but when i was inform tonight when i came home found the news of the people looking of her
i reture the dog with open arms and my cats said there sad goodbye to there friend/sister
laika AKA blueeyes as we call her for the week she has been with us
please know I am sincerely sorry for my mistake and take full responsibility

e-mail lewissweet772yahoo.com
Aug. 1, 2009, 1:38 am
G. Leonardo -Lewis from brownsville oceanview says:
Im am very very sorry for my
misunderstanding of the dog
as it was told to me and my wife she was left
said a man outside for hours alone so me and my wife being lvoing pet owners saw to taken her in thinking she was left there alone cuz of her age and health
but when i was inform tonight when i came home found the news of the people looking of her
i reture the dog with open arms and my cats said there sad goodbye to there friend/sister
laika AKA blueeyes as we call her for the week she has been with us
please know I am sincerely sorry for my mistake and take full responsibility

e-mail lewissweet77@yahoo.com
Aug. 1, 2009, 1:38 am
natalie barratt from fort greene says:
WE FOUND HER!

Search party now a celebration party.

http://gonelaikagone.blogspot.com has all the details of where we found her and how. Bizarre evening!
Aug. 1, 2009, 2:24 am
natalie barratt from fort greene says:
WE FOUND HER!

Search party now a celebration party.

http://gonelaikagone.blogspot.com has all the details of where we found her and how. Bizarre evening!

Thank you Leo! For taking such good care of her. She is happy and at my feet.
Aug. 1, 2009, 2:25 am
David from Fort Greene says:
LAIKA HAS BEEN FOUND!!!!

Thank you everyone who helped with the search

Details at
www.gonelaikagone.blogspot.com/
Aug. 1, 2009, 8:58 am
Deborah from Ft. Greene says:
Maybe this will teach people that it's not acceptable to leave your dog tied to a fence for hours and go about your business. Would you leave your child like this. I don't care if you leave your dog for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it's not acceptable and when a concerned person 'rescues' your dog it shouldn't be called theft.
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:41 am
Bill from Clinton Hill says:
Lentol's idea of criminalizing petnapping has come up before, and terrified well meaning animal rescuers and animal rescue organizations. I think this is why it has not been pursued. Imagine taking a starving unidentified stray off the street, feeding it, nursing it back to health, paying its vet bills - and then being open to felony charges when the negligent alleged owner (who may or may not have actually owned the animal) shows up. A friend of mine who rescued a sick stray cat in the middle of the winter - a cat that she'd fed outside her house for months in Queens - was later accused of catnapping by the prior "owner." This guy lived around the block, saw the cat in her window months after she took it in, and actually sued her, demanding the cat be returned to him. As proof of ownership, he produced his contract from North Shore Animal League (which didn't prove much anyway - no photo) - and my friend's atty got North Shore to weigh in on her behalf, since the guy had contractually committed to keeping the cat indoors and having it neutered. Of course he'd done neither, while my friend had spent megabucks on vet bills to save the sick cat. My friend's atty was able to argue that even if she'd stolen the cat (which she hadn't), under the law the cat was property, so damages should be limited to the value of the cat, which he argued was less than zero due to its medical bills. When the prior "owner" didn't show up for the next hearing, the case was thrown out and my friend got to keep her cat. She wasn't a catnapper, and certainly shouldn't be exposed to felony charges for saving the animal's life.
Aug. 1, 2009, 9:36 pm
Ed from Brooklyn says:
What kind of idiot leaves a dog tied up and unattended on the street?

I've seen too many dogs (including small, easily-stolen dogs) tied up outside of stores. I've stood there like a fool, waiting for the owners -- to insure that THEIR dog wouldn't be stolen.
With large stores: I've alerted managers to tied-up dogs in their parking lots or doorways. Staff made announcements, asking the dog owners to see the manager; the owners ignored it and took their time shopping.

In all of these cases -- the dogs' owners eventually will emerge and claim the dog(s) ... but when other folks, store managers and I warn them of the dangers of tying dogs up, the owners just brush us off, get huffy, or act as if we're all morons.
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:50 pm
clermont from ft greene says:
I agree with Ed. There are too many people who think there is nothing wrong with leaving their dogs tied up (often very loosely) outside while they shop. I am sorry, but this is Brooklyn, not the middle of nowhere. I don't care what kind of dream world you live in about this being a "community" where you can trust everyone - there are people who will take your dog for dog-fighting bait without a second thought. Leaving your dog alone is cruel, and you probably shouldn't have a dog if you aren't smart enough to figure out how to make other arrangements. My husband and I take our dog everywhere, but we split up and one of us stays outside with the dog when we are going into stores.
Aug. 3, 2009, 4:33 pm
Bill from Clinton Hill says:
Here's an idea: Assemblyman Lentol can add a provision to his proposed legislation making it a ticketable offense to leave one's dog tied up and unattended outside a commercial establishment. Since (as clermont observes above) leaving your dog tied up alone outside is cruel, this belongs in the text of an animal-cruelty bill. The State would get some money it desperately needs, and dog owners would be put on notice that it's not worth the risk of tying up your pooch and leaving it alone outside while you shop.
Aug. 3, 2009, 6:09 pm
FTGreene from Fort Greene says:
Just wondering...if you are such a dog lover and well-intentioned, why didnt you call any of the numbers on the dog tags. Unreal.
Aug. 3, 2009, 7:12 pm
FTGreene from Fort Greene says:
Also...there should be no problem leaving your dog tied up if you are going into a store to buy groceries...especially at Provisions. Only a crazy person or a criminal unties a dog and takes it.
Aug. 3, 2009, 7:13 pm
Bill from Clinton Hill says:
Of course, in a perfect world there "should be" no problem leaving your dog tied up while you shop. News flash: this ain't a perfect world. Check the weekly police blotter: it's full of "crazy people and criminals," and we read these dognapping stories every year. People steal unattended animals to sell to labs for experimentation, and for bait in pit bull fights. Deluding yourself that the problem doesn't exist and leaving your pet unattended is cruel to the animal, who will probably suffer a lot more than you will when it's taken. The Barratts were extremely lucky in this case. Many others haven't been as fortunate.
Aug. 3, 2009, 8:03 pm
Gina from South Brooklyn says:
"FTGreene from Fort Greene says: Also...there should be no problem leaving your dog tied up if you are going into a store to buy groceries...especially at Provisions. Only a crazy person or a criminal unties a dog and takes it."

#1, There ARE "crazy people" and crims around. And someone might well steal your dog, or taunt the dog and then claim injury -- or claim injury just for the hell of it, and try to sue your a** off.
If you haven't seen all of the "lost/stolen dogs" flyers on NYC lampposts and bulletin boards, you just haven't been looking.
#2, believe it or not, it DOES violate animal cruelty laws. The dog has no space, no water, and noplace to go if threatened or injured by some "crazy" (or by a dog that's owned by a crazy).
#3, a dog is its owner's/guardian's responsibility. Be like the majority of us: Plan ahead, and don't jeopardize your dog's safety due to your own laziness.
#4, if you could avoid arrest for doing so: would you tie a young kid up alone in front of a store or on the street? why not? (I mean - why worry, if the only people who'd harm the kid would be crazies and criminals?)
#5, when things like this happen, everyone else gets dragged into the drama - due to the owner's irresponsibility.

A few years back, some people used to put stickers near tied-up animals -- saying something like, "I Could Have Stolen Your Dog," and warning them vs. leaving dogs tied up on the street. It's time for public re-education -- AND making this kind of tie-up a ticketable offense.
Aug. 4, 2009, 1:31 am
Canis Major from Park Slope says:
FTGreene from Fort Greene says: "Just wondering...if you are such a dog lover and well-intentioned, why didnt you call any of the numbers on the dog tags. Unreal."
----------------------
It's *not* unreal. It's obvious that the finder has some language problems.

Plus, the owner's requests elsewhere said the finder should contact the vet named on the tag. That means the only real ID was a rabies tag with vet's number - and people with limited experience or a language problem might not regard that as "ID." [And if you care about your dog, you have more ID than that: vets aren't open 24/7, and they do have days off!]

Apparently, this finder also thought that the dog had been dumped due to age and illness.

I gotta tell you, I wouldn't leave *any* dog "tied up" alone, anywhere, much less a "friendly" senior dog with two bad hips, who might be an easy mark for a thief, and less able or likely to defend herself.
Aug. 4, 2009, 1:57 am
Clermont from Ft Greene says:
Leaving your dog tied up alone should definitely be considered a crime and a ticketable offense.
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:15 am
jane from park slope says:
i hear these stories all the time and it makes me so mad. when will people learn to not leave their dogs outside alone? would you leave your baby outside while you shop? no. and then you get all upset cause someone stole your dog. duh! glad you got her back, but hope you learned your lesson.
Aug. 4, 2009, 9:24 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.