Have you left your dog tied up unattended? I’m not talking long-term. Just for a minute, a quick run into the store or to grab a hot coffee or cool drink. There’s a sign pole or bike rack or tree right there. It’s only for a minute. You leave your dog tied up and step aside.
In Chicago, it’s not a smart move. First of all, it is illegal and you can be ticketed for leaving a dog tied up unattended. The city leash law requires that a person, not a tree or post, be at the other end of the leash. Second of all, you’re setting yourself up for the potential of your dog being taken. It only takes a second…and…boom your dog is gone.
The past several years, Chicago has seen an increase in the wave of pet thefts. Some dogs are taken from their yards, others from cars and some are boldly stolen during burglaries. The easiest route is to look for a dog tied out and cut a leash and just walk away.
“I see it all the time in the West Loop outside Dominick’s and Starbucks. It has always driven me crazy and you want to say something,” says Josie Jendro, owner of Chicago Party Animals. Her business caters to dog lovers with dog friendly events and off-leash dog meet-up groups and parties.
“A few years back I was crossing the street with our Rottweiler Diva and I could hear barking,” she adds. “I could see that this guy outside the rehab center had this little dog and he was holding the dog out toward traffic. I went up and said – ‘hey, why don’t you put the dog back’ – which was met with a bunch of cussing.”
Jendro says he was called every name in the book and her own dog Diva, a Rottweiler, went into protective mode and got very nasty. “I finally told him if he threw the dog in traffic and didn’t give him back…I’d let my dog loose on him. I got the dog, called the owners on the tags and he didn’t even know the dog was missing. The dog had been tied up outside Dominick's.”
It turned out that the person had recently moved to Chicago from a small southern town where people tied their dogs up outside businesses all the time. Nothing ever happened. The guy and his partner were so relieved, they dropped by a gift basket of wine and cheese the next week. The ended up joining Jendro’s West Loop Dog Meet-Up group and eventually adopted another dog.
Around Christmas last year, a video went viral from New York City. A mother and daughter left their dog tied up outside a convenience store when a mom and daughter ran in. Video captured a person cutting the leash and running off with the dog.
Shortly after that, a few blocks away, the dog thief was found on a street corner trying to sell the dog for drugs. Luckily, the dog didn’t meet a worse fate and go to dog fighters or abusers. A Good Samaritan negotiated for the dog and started looking for the owners. When the video hit the news, the dog and family were reunited.
“That video was on my mind when I saw a mom and daughter tie their dog up outside the Chase Bank in my neighborhood,” says Jendro. “It was the first really cold, snowy day of the winter and this little Apricot-colored poodle mix wearing a sweater was left tied up to a garbage can. She was shivering in fear after being left.”
The mother and daughter had been loud and somewhat annoying. So, Jendro decided to wait and talk to them. When they came out, she started a conversation, which eventually moved inside the dog-friendly branch with the pup in tow.
“I took the time to explain about dog thefts in the area. I also took the opportunity to let them know what happens – there could be a request for ransom, the dog could be used as bait – I wanted to let them know what goes on,” she says. “We also talked about some of the animal rescue groups and the work they are doing.”
When the mom and daughter had been going into the bank, they’d been talking about spending some funds on a trip to Target. Candy and toys were high on the list. Later in the day, Jendro got a call from the mother, the little girl decided to donate her money instead to PAWS to help out the homeless animals.
Many things can happen when you leave your pet tied-up unattended –
- You may risk your dog getting into a tussle with a reactive dog that walks by (or your dog could be the reactive dog).
- You risk your pet getting loose or stolen.
- Several things may happen to stolen pets – they could be held for ransom, sold on Craig’s list or could be sold for bait dogs, scientific experiments or into another abusive situation.
The safest thing is to keep your pet with you at all times or leave your pet at home. And never leave your pet in a locked car, but that is a post for another day. April 14 to 21 is National Pet ID Week. Later in the week, we’ll look at ways to update your pet’s ID and tips for relocating your missing pet. (See tips story here.)
Read fellow ChicagoNow Blogger Steve Dale's article on Dog Flipping here.
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