Tuesday, April 05, 1977

“Dognappers” Win Their Ransom By Preying on Owners’ Emotions

When Marilyn Farmer went into her local delicatessen a few weeks ago, she left her dog, as usual, waiting outside. A few minutes later the dog had vanished.

Four days and three sleepless nights after losing the animal after putting notices up and advertisements in newspapers, Miss Farmer (that is not her real name) got a phone call from a woman who said she had seen the advertisements and had found the dog. The woman called Miss Farmer 5 times over a period of 8 hours, each time saying she was not sure if she would give the dog back. Each time she asked Miss Farmer how much she would pay to get her dog back.

Many stolen dogs end up in the Pelham Park area in the Bronx. Robert Davison, who is in the boat-restoration business on City Island collects dogs from the park and usually keeps about 10 at a time hoping to find their owners. “There are about 15 to 20 dogs in that park now and I’ve seen it go as high as 50. “Thieves try to make contact with the owner but for some reason – maybe the owner is too cagey – the thief gets scared and wants to get rid of the dog. He either throws the dog over the bridge or dumps it in that park.”

“Offer a reward, but don’t say how much. If you offer $500, the thief won’t take less. If you don’t specify how much the thief will usually take as little as $50, since he wants to get rid of the dog.”

Excerpt from NYT 4/5/77

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