It’s bad enough that Red Hook’s famed key lime pie man’s dog disappeared (or was he stolen?) — but now he’s barking back at critics who say the whole thing was his fault!
Steve Tarpin, the maestro at Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, came under fire for leaving his Jack Russell terrier Mango unleashed outside B61, a bar on Columbia Street, on Nov. 22. The dog is still missing and Tarpin suspects it was stolen.
But some criticized Tarpin for his risky routine of heading to the bar for a drink on his way home, yet leaving the pooch untethered outside.
“[Mango] hung out in front every night, loose, while his owner was inside drinking,” wrote “Don Tardo,” on the Web site of the New York Post, which reported the possible dognapping on Thanksgiving. “It’s terrible that someone took him, but it was bound to happen. Tarpin is the definition of an irresponsible dog owner.”
The pie man fired back and compared himself to other victims of crime — people who normally don’t get blamed for their misfortunes.
“If someone had had a security system, maybe his house wouldn’t have been robbed. Does that make them an irresponsible homeowner?” he asked rhetorically (an odd question, given that it is illegal to have a dog off his leash, except during some hours in some city parks).
“I don’t want to defend myself [from insults], I just want my dog back,” he told The Brooklyn Paper.
Judgment aside, this much is known about the incident that has Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront District howling.
According to Tarpin, the dog must have been stolen during a 10-minute gap around 7 pm, when Tarpin was having a drink while Mango occupied the post on the corner of Degraw Street, where he noshed on his daily serving of cornbread from Jake’s Bar-B-Q next door to the bar.
In the hopes of recovering Mango, Tarpin has plastered signs all over Red Hook and the Columbia Street Waterfront District looking for tips about his dog and has also added a plea for help on his company’s Web site.
At B61, where Tarpin and Mango spent many an evening (one inside and one outside), an owner said that more cautious dog owners have lost pets that they have tied up outside stores.
“It’s happened to other people I know in the neighborhood and some of them have tied up their dogs,” said Ron Starns, the restaurant and bar’s co-owner.
The Center for Animal Care and Control advised all owners to never leave their pets outside a store, even if their on a leash and hitched to something.
“Never leave your dogs unattended,” said Richard Gentles, the center’s director of administrative services.
In fact, his group encourages implanting tracking devices under an animal’s skin so they can be located if they’re lost.
“We recommend that they be microchipped. … It’s worth the peace of mind,” he said.
Anyone with information about Mango’s disappearance can call Tarpin at (718) 8585333.