Police Facilitate Business for CA Dog Flippers

NBC Los Angeles described a story run on May 9 this way:

A man was reunited with his lost dog but was questioning why he was put up for adoption during his disappearance.

After reading the story, my take is uh, rather different.

Jack, as shown in a video on the NBC Los Angeles website.

A woman was caught on surveillance video stealing a purebred Havanese puppy who slipped out of his owner’s workplace.  She takes him inside a neighboring business and neither are seen again.  The owner, Lou Gotowski, immediately began searching for his puppy Jack on numerous fronts.  Jack has two microchips.

The owner found Jack listed for adoption on a website belonging to a non-profit called Pet Match Rescue, 40 miles from where Jack was last seen.  In checking the website for this group, I noticed they have mainly white & fluffies, many of them pups.  Which seems odd.  As is this:

Gotowski said the minute he tried to claim the dog, his ad disappeared from the website. He also tried to catch up with the rescue group during an adoption event at a Petco, but Jack wasn’t there.

Sounds legit.  Ultimately two women from the group contacted the owner and told him he could buy his dog back for $525.  They met at the local police station and instead of arresting the dognappers, police supervised the ransom exchange while an ACO scanned Jack’s chip to verify it was him.

An officer brought the fuzzy 6-month-old pup out, and Jack began squirming in excitement at the sight of Gotowski.

Jack kissed his owner and wriggled in joy, clearly happy to see a familiar face.

Gotowski wondered why the microchip wasn’t scanned earlier – it could have saved weeks of heartache.

Or:  I wonder why dognappers/puppy flippers would not comply with the law and scan their victims before resale.  Hmmmm.

From California Penal Code section 597.1:

(m) It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society
officers, and animal control officers to use all currently acceptable
methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise, to
determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded
animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to
notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and
any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and,
upon the owner’s and caretaker’s initiation of recovery procedures,
retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow
for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact
the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to
be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be
made available for public inspection.

Just leaving that there.

The women from the nonprofit told NBC4 there was no dispute, but would not say how Jack came to them.

And to reiterate, this was at the effing police station.

“I got Jack back, and forever am I grateful but my big deal is how many other people have lost their dog in this type of situation? That’s the scary part,” Gotowski said.

Ya think?

(Thanks Clarice and Nathan.)

20 thoughts on “Police Facilitate Business for CA Dog Flippers

  1. The law quoted applies only to seized or impounded animals. My guess is this dog was presented to the shelter as an owner turn in, which, in many cases, is excluded from the requirement to scan and contact. My rescue ALWAYS scans every dog that comes in as we have had a vindictive ex-husband turn in their schipperke at a shelter who transferred it to us. When I scanned for a chip I contacted the owner listed and his ex-wife and children were ecstatic to get their dog back. The ex-husband had told his children the schipperke and their dalmatian were dead. The dal had already been adopted out and the family were not able to recover the dog.

    There are too many people who make a judgement that any loose dog must come from an irresponsible owner. They totally exclude any suggestion that dogs get out by accident. Some shelters are having to compete in order to get enough small dogs and puppies to sell at their events. I was contacted by an all breed no-kill shelter a couple of weeks ago wanting to know if I knew of any upcoming raids on breeders or anyone who wanted to give away a litter of puppies as they had adoption events coming up and no small dogs or litters of puppies to sell. All they had left in their shelter were adult dogs with behavior problems. The director’s parting words were that they had done too good a job of having everyone spay and neuter their dogs and there weren’t enough dogs for them to stay in business if this continued.

    1. ah, the days when shelters will be put out of business because they are no longer necessary. There is a lot of questionable stuff going on in shelters these days, including the importation of full TRUCKLOADS of puppies from puppy mills to “adopt” out (read as: sell) at events.

      1. What’s disturbing is that in the 90s when I was a shelter kennel manager, we often dreamed aloud of the day when we’d be put on the unemployment line due to lack of dumped, and lost pets. We were always glad to help animals whose owners genuinely needed help to keep their pets or to have us take them due to changes in their lives like job loss or health issues. We gave food if that was what they needed to keep their pets through a rough patch. If they had some other issue where food wasn’t a good enough answer, we’d take the animal in if we had to, or gave the owner leads to placing their pet themselves, where they’d at least know where they were. We actually DID have two animals in my time there turned over because the owner got new furniture and the dog’s/cat’s fur wasn’t the same color. That isn’t the kind of folks we wanted to be there for, but we still did our best for those animals. We ate lunches at the table in the same room that served as our quarantine and euthanasia room, and talked about which one of us would stay to hand lost pets over to the grateful owners who were searching for them, and to take in the few genuinely desperate owner’s pets, and how the rest of us could find jobs doing more pleasant things, like grooming, or training, or veterinary work.

        Now? That same shelter is run by the extremists. They have latched onto the money train path of sheltering. People here have a tough time finding any puppy, let alone a well-bred one appropriate for their lifestyle. Their shelter choices are limited to elderly pets with health issues, or pits. Most homes are not good candidates to own a pit, and almost all the dogs at my local shelter are designated to go to “no kids/no other pets” type homes only. Unless there’s a ‘raid’, that’s all there is to choose from. So how does an average family wanting a pet get one? Most home-based show breeders have got more homes than puppies available here. And the substandard breeders are even able to sell as many as they can breed. Commercial breeders have been run out like witches in Salem. So the shelter has gone the retail pet store route and is importing, instead of ‘going out of business’. Makes me sick to see what our little, by the skin of our teeth shelter has become. It’s #136 of the richest shelters in the USA now. Over $4,000,000 in he bank. Big fundraisers every month. Collects form the little piggy banks in stores everywhere. But couldn’t come out to discuss a dog whose house had three walls and no roof in the chilly winds and rains of a PA October because my township doesn’t pay them the requested fee every year.

        Do I sound bitter? Well, maybe I am, because we used to do SO much more with SO much less. WTF happened??!

    2. There is a huge increase of dogs being stolen from vehicles too, when confronted, the thieves claim that it’s cruel to leave a dog in a car. An acquaintance of mine had her dogs stolen from locked crates in the back of her fully equipped “dog van” – in the presence of a police officer! He was so intimidated (he claimed) by this crazy woman that he let her commit a crime in his presence with the excuse that dogs shouldn’t be left in vehicles. Ever. The cop left a business card on the van and let the woman drive off with the champion obedience competition dogs. She had used bolt cutters to destroy the locked crates. Who carries bolt cutters in their car . . .?

  2. I am appalled in every possible way there is to be appalled at this story. No matter how the “rescue” got Jack, charging his rightful owner in excess of $500 is just wrong.

  3. There are more and more shelters and rescues filling their “inventory” with dogs obtained from out of the country. They don’t always abide by quarantine rules or any other import regulations. Thanks to them we have two new strains of dog flu that is killing our dogs, plus rabies and brucellocis. Too many people discount brucellocis thinking it is only a disease that affects breeding dogs but it can also transfer to people and has killed veterinarians and others in the past. If any of the shelters or rescues have people working with them that are undergoing chemo or have an autoimmune disease they are very much at risk from a brucella positive dog. It is quickly becoming an epidemic when we had it under control for decades. And just so everyone knows, USDA breeders are required to test for brucellocis every year for dogs that are actively being used for breeding. Responsible breeders also test as well.

  4. Wow. Just wow. How the hell did they not get charged with at least selling stolen goods?

    They won’t say how they came by the dog? BULLSHIT. I want to see the paperwork.

    In fact, I want to see the paperwork on every single animal in their “inventory” right now.

    1. shelters and rescues are not required to keep paperwork on any of the dogs, when they lobby for dog laws against breeders they always exempt themselves from all the regulations

    2. Many states do require rescues to keep paperwork, In fact I believe under the rewritten APHIS rules all of them are. No one ever ask for them, and when they do they are met with similar remarks. And no one pushes, no one makes them accountable. They just do what they want. And everyone just allows it. Even the owner of this puppy! WHY?

  5. I’ve been following this ever since NBC ran the story. It makes me sick. They are still in business and deleting all questions and negative remarks from their facebook page. They have still not addressed the issue. They state on their website that they NEVER take owner surrenders. Disgusting!!

    1. They are clearly a retail pet store. There is no other explanation for the abundance of cute, small, fluffy puppies they are selling. They are getting merchandise from who-knows-where, but we can guess.

      1. Yes, and they have a non-profit license, and take donations. So unscrupulous! They having been bringing their pups on Sundays to PetCo in Newport Beach. Many people called PetCo to complain about them. Hopefully they aren’t allowed there anymore.

  6. If they’re deleting comments on their facebook page, write your comments under “reviews”, they can’t delete those!

  7. In many states shelter and rescues ARE required to have just as much paper work as breeders. Does anyone ever check on them? Nope. Does anyone ever question and push to get this stuff to the legal and public eye. Nope. Either because they are blined and brainwashed or just to afraid of the public out lash when you attack the *rescues*. This is not a movement any more it is a mass crowd hysteria. Shame. They openly ransomed the dog for $520 and no one did anything. Sadly not even the owner.

  8. To heap more abuse on top of the situation, they also had the dog NEUTERED. I hope the owner sues the pants off of these opportunists. “Rescue”, my ass.


  9. The biggest irony of this whole situation is that with more and more shelters finding new ways to get “inventory”, there are areas where they are trying to push mandatory spay/neuter! Even HSUS admitted there is no pet overpopulation problem. It then begs the question why HSUS and other animal rights groups are still backing some of these horrendous breeding restrictions. The simple and only answer is to follow the money. I attended an animal welfare conference a couple of years ago where the ASPCA speaker stated that shelters only represent 20% of pet sales and they should be doing better. It was business 101 class with ideas ranging from transport (which is already a big business in and of itself), to advertising to take whole litters (already done via CraigsList), to further restricting ANYONE who has an intact animal who “may” breed it, to BREEDING THEIR OWN MIXED BREED LITTERS IN THE SHELTER! And yes, that is already being done in Wisconsin. Take a look at http://www.goldenbarns.com/about-us, which now only casually mentions their rescue operations. An earlier yesbiscuit article: https://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/tha-hell/.

    I have also been made aware of some shelters that are essentially paying a bounty to anyone who “turns in” a breeder so that charges can be filed and animals seized. That scenario is being played out now with the Upton German Shepherd case in Indianapolis. Mr. Upton is paying around $6100.00 PER MONTH in order to retain ownership of his dogs while the shelter and prosecutor (the former prosecutor has already admitted to falsifying data but the case has not been dropped), delay the trial hoping that Mr. Upton runs out of money. Mr. Upton’s center had a clear inspection record for 30 years until the new animal control officer came in and decided his runs were too small. In an incredulous twist, the dogs that were in caging that was too small at Uptons are now spending their last few months in spaces that are SMALLER! Adult dogs have been put down, puppies have died or whereabouts unknown, and Mr. Upton and his veterinarian have been denied the right to visit or inspect the dogs for several months. In the meantime, people are lining up to adopt these dogs as soon as Mr. Upton runs out of money.

  10. most state/local ordinance do not require that private NFP ‘humane societies’, ‘rescues’, etc. maintain ANY records of where they obtain their animals, to whom they are sold/given/transferred, etc., nor any requirement to scan for chips or look for tattoos. I personally know of NK organization that will steal a dog in a New York Minute! Can’t prove it… yet. it will come.

  11. Why is it that I receive Biscuit a week after other posters here — I see posts of FB that I’ve ‘missed’ here – and it shows up in my in box – as today – a week later???

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