By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
An 11-week-old Rottweiler puppy named “Buddy” has been reunited with his owners after he was stolen from his home in Ipswich, Queensland, thanks to the help of a tip-off from a member of the public and some teamwork from Springfield police.
The Brisbane Times (https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/stolen-rottweiler-pup-returned-to-ipswich-owners-after-38-days-20200416-p54kfo.html) reports that on 3 March 2020, Buddy’s owners wandered into the backyard of their Redbank Plains property to discover their back fence had been damaged.
It soon dawned on them that their beloved four-legged friend had been stolen from them.
Devasted, the owners disseminated several appeals across social media channels, urging for help from the community to get their precious puppy back.
Fortunately for the pair, a member of the public came across the appeals, and having noticed a very similar dog living in another Redbank Plains home not far away, tipped off the police about the likely whereabouts of the missing puppy.
Springfield police made their way to the residence where they discovered the rottweiler pup.
Luckily, Buddy had been micro-chipped, so with the assistance of a local vet, Springfield police were easily able to identify the dog.
Other than having a piece of chewing gum stuck in his fur, Buddy’s health was intact, and with the all-clear given, officers transported him back to his very surprised owners.
On 10 April, almost six weeks after being separated from his owners, Buddy was back with his family, just in time for Easter.
“Are You Kidding Me?” – Dog Owner Flabbergasted as Puppy is Returned
With a rather tender moment about to transpire, officers decided to capture footage of the moment Buddy was returned to his home.
In the video, posted by Queensland Police (https://mypolice.qld.gov.au/news/2020/04/16/ipswich-police-pounce-on-stolen-puppy/), a flabbergasted but relieved owner can be heard saying, “Oh my God, are you kidding me?”, as she answers the door to see Buddy in good health, with only a patch of fur missing.
Upon returning the puppy, officers praised the dog, saying, “He’s a good dog, we’ve enjoyed spending the last hour with him”.
“We’re going to miss you, you can be our station puppy,” they can then be heard saying.
“We’re going to come over for pats.”
Police say an investigation into the theft is continuing.
Tips on How to Prevent Your Dog from Being Stolen
It’s heartbreaking enough to have your pet go missing.
But imagine if you discovered your favourite friend was intentionally stolen from you.
For most dog owners, the idea alone of having their furry companion taken away from them is akin to a horrifying nightmare.
Indeed, many people treat their dog as a member of the family, a person with fur that cannot be replaced, so the thought of having their pet stolen from them is especially distressing.
To prevent your pet from being stolen, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), via their website Pet Voice (https://www.vetvoice.com.au/articles/pet-theft-and-how-to-avoid-it/), offer several tips to help protect your dog from theft. These include:
- Treat your pet like your child– that is, never leave your dog unattended when out in public. Just like you wouldn’t leave your child sitting in the car or tied to a pole while you quickly dash out to the supermarket, you should never do this with your dog either as this is an easy place for thieves to snatch your pet.
- Make sure your pet isn’t visible from the street– similar to the above, if you are running errands in places that aren’t dog-friendly and have to leave it outside, for the sake of your pet’s safety, it is better to simply leave your beloved at home rather than risking it going missing. A dog spotted outside a shop or venue with no owner in sight is asking to be stolen.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped – owners should be proactive about the potential of their dog to be stolen. Hopefully your dog never goes missing, but in case it does, you’ll need to prove that it belongs to you. So, to be on the safe side, microchip your pooch and ensure that your contact information is up to date with your microchip company.
- Hire professionals when it comes to pet-care providers – it is not uncommon for dogs to be stolen while in the care of dog-sitters. So, ask for identification and read online reviews before you hand your pet over to be looked after. Try to only hire responsible, insured and trusted pet-care providers. Additionally, always check references before hiring a walker or sitter.
- When it comes to overly curious strangers, use caution – be guarded with your dog’s information. Believe it or not, sometimes, thieves will try to determine how much your dog is worth in order to work out whether to steal it. So, deflect detailed questions from strangers, especially those revolving around how much your dog costs.
For more information on the law on larceny, please contact our friendly team to arrange a FREE consultation with our Sydney based criminal lawyers (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/).
Law on Possessing a Stolen Dog in NSW
In NSW, our furry friends are protected by the law, and as such, it is illegal to steal a dog.
The maximum penalty for unlawfully possessing any stolen dog or even the skin of any such dog attracts $550 and a criminal conviction, but only if the offender does do knowing the dog is a stolen dog prescribed by section 504 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1900/40/part14a/div1/sec504).
The penalty for stealing a dog in NSW (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/what-are-the-penalties-for-stealing-a-dog-in-nsw/) also carries a fine of up to $550 in addition to up to 6 months jail under section 503.
The law on this is based on the law on larceny in NSW (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-on-larceny-charges/).