Dog, cat, theft: Hesse’s police recently counted dozens of cases in which animals were reported stolen. Animal shelters are also affected.
In one case it hit Bobby, in another Mili. The dogs disappeared from animal shelters and were allegedly stolen. It often happens that pets or farm animals become prey to thieves in Hesse. The police recently registered dozens of reports about it. The perpetrators and background are often unknown – but there are speculations as to what might be behind them.
According to the head of Nadine Bernardy, animals have often been stolen from the Wiesbaden animal shelter. Nurses are currently looking for Mili. The Pekingese had disappeared from her kennel in March. “It’s difficult to secure our site with many buildings right next to train tracks,” says Bernardy. This also resulted in a joint appointment with police security advisers. Mili had disappeared at night, the suspected perpetrators had probably overcome a fence. “Mili disappeared in a week when our shelter was already closed to visitors because of Corona.”
A case from the Wetterau recently became known: In early June, Bobby disappeared from the shelter in Butzbach. This has never happened before, says facility manager Claudia Maid. “We wouldn’t have thought that either.” The strange thing about the case is that the Staffordshire bull terrier crossbreed disappeared in broad daylight from the shelter area where the dogs can move freely. Bobby is a so-called list dog. This list includes breeds classified as dangerous, for which an official permit is required. Since the previous owner did not have this, Bobby came to Butzbach.
Last year, the Hesse police received a total of 59 criminal charges for allegedly stolen pets, as reported by the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Wiesbaden. 37 of these concerned dogs, eleven cats and seven were received because of the missing rabbits. Cases were also reported in the area of livestock or wild animals: the fish most affected by 126, followed by sheep (18) and birds (14). According to the LKA, the statistics only list the number of advertisements, not the number of stolen animals. “Usually there are isolated cases when animals are stolen from homes,” says Moira Gerlach, specialist for pets at the German Animal Welfare Association. In principle, it is conceivable that in some cases the disappearance of animals could also be an organized, criminal business, since the trade in pedigree dogs is very lucrative. “So far, as far as we know, there have never been any concrete observations or even evidence that could be used in court for such criminal acts on a large scale.”
Some perpetrators also tried to get a “list dog” in this way, said Gerlach. “There have also been cases in which the former owner has retrieved his animal or in which an interested party could not accept that no mediation was possible.”
According to the Wiesbaden animal shelter manager Bernardy, thefts are more likely to have something to do with the previous owners of the animals, for example, when a fighting dog is seized and brought to the animal shelter due to a lack of expertise. Then the owners or their friends sometimes tried to get the animal back illegally.
However, poodle puppies had already disappeared from the shelter in 2016. “It was very tough for us,” reports Bernardy. “We take care of the dogs around the clock – and then they are stolen.” Fortunately, the puppies showed up again after a few months. The search for Bobby in Butzbach continues. According to the police, the investigation into his disappearance is still ongoing.