Indianapolis dog owners report rise in animal theft


Several Indianapolis-area families are warning pet owners about a pet thieves lurking in Indy neighborhoods.

The organization Indy Lost Pet Alert is currently circulating flyers about recent family dogs missing from the owners.

Zanna, a two-year-old white female Westie, disappeared over the last two weeks. Her owners, Jean Howard and her family, say an unidentified woman convinced one of their elderly family members she was from the Humane Society while taking Zanna from the front yard.

The family member says the woman never showed identification, did not wear a uniform and drove an unmarked gray van at the time.

That threw up a red flag for Zanna's owners.

"I believe that somebody impersonating someone came and took our dog off of our property," said Jean Howard.

The family lives near 52 and Guion Road in northwest Indianapolis. Their children miss Zanna dearly and often asks where she is and if she is ever coming back home.

They have a second family dog that also went missing but the folks at Lost Pet Alert helped reunite them. However, the Howards fear getting Zanna back will be a bigger challenge.

"Because she is not fixed and able to make some money during the holiday season," said Jean, "I believe they still have her."

Indianapolis pet owner Eddie Williams is circulating photos of his Toy Poodle Boomer. He too is utilizing the services of Lost Pet Alert.

"Boomer is my best friend and I miss him so much," said Williams.

Last week he was parked at the Sherman Avenue and East 25th street Phillips 66 Gas Station in Indy when someone reportedly stole Boomer from his car.

"He is not a dog to me. He is my companion. I have had him since he was seven weeks," said Williams. "I have a very generous reward of a thousand dollars for him."

Pet thefts are also happening outside of Indianapolis. Lost Pet Alert is helping Erin Maksymczak try to locate her Mini Australian Shepherd, which is not a very common breed. Someone stole her dog Tucker from the car parked in front of the Hobby Lobby in Westfield near Greyhound Pass and US 31 not from the PetSmart Store.

"I also had a second dog name Beau in the car," said Erin, "but Beau isn't always the nicest dog so the dog thief left Beau behind." Tucker only weighs 15lbs and is micro-chipped.

Lost Pet Alert is sounding the alarm. Although the organization helps reunite lost pets, workers warn pet owners to use caution at home and out and about with their pets.

"It seems that with the holidays approaching, pet theft is on the rise," said Danielle Beck of Indy Lost Pet Alert, "In the past five days, we have had two pets stolen from their owner's parked vehicles."

"Some dogs can be used to breed and make a profit anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 for puppies depending on the breed. People are stealing just about anything - things that you don't even expect to be stolen," said Howard.

Both people who have lost or stolen pets and people who find pets can get help with flyers, online postings and reuniting from Indy Lost Pet Alert. You're also advised to microchip your pet.