The Demeter family was devastated when their puppy went missing on April 23. Tyler

Chilliwack family crushed by dog-napping

The family is sharing their stolen puppy story in the hopes that someone saw something suspicious that morning that may help

A Chilliwack family is desperate to find their missing nine-week old puppy.

Kim Demeter said her boys were heartbroken when their yellow-lab puppy named Zoey was snatched from their McNaught Avenue yard last Tuesday.

“We are just devastated,” she told The Progress.

The family is sharing their stolen puppy story in the hopes that someone saw something suspicious that morning that may help them find her.

They believe their older black lab, Abby, had been secured in the backyard by the dog-napper and thrown some raw meat as distraction. The Demeters found some mysterious chunks that the big dog couldn’t finish, making it clear the puppy-theft was premeditated, rather than simply a crime of opportunity.

“A neighbour told us she saw both dogs running loose on the front lawn at about 9 a.m. But I came home to find Abby behind the gate. I couldn’t find the puppy anywhere,” said Demeter.

Chilliwack SPCA manager Ivanna Ferris said the phenomenon of dog-napping isn’t all that common.

“In my experience, certainly cute puppies and small breed dogs can be targeted if left unattended in a yard. So it’s definitely something to watch out for, but it’s not that common.”

A large wagon sits out front of the Demeter home on McNaught near Yale Road. The neighbour said she didn’t know what to do so she’d tried to put Zoey in the decorative wagon for safekeeping.

When they came home, the family found what looked like raw meat mounded into some pea gravel in the backyard, where the older dog had been sick, so they know something untoward, possibly criminal happened while they were away.

“Abby, the big dog, is very protective and would have been barking like crazy.”

The pure-bred puppy was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard they looked. They called police and animal control and made reports, to no avail.

“I don’t understand how someone could do this,” she says. “We only had her for five days.”

Police said it was likely to have been someone in the area.

“Maybe someone suddenly has a new puppy that looks like Zoey.”

Now the kids are begging whoever it was to just bring the dog back, no questions asked.

Conner, 12, says it is heartbreaking to lose the dog this way.

“It made me feel so sad and angry.”

He knocked on doors, and looked for her for hours following the incident.

“I started texting everyone and we put up some ‘lost’ posters. It’s just not fun anymore.”

Conner and his brothers had saved up all their allowance and money from mowing lawns, and doing chores, to buy the female yellow-lab puppy.

It cost them $600 to add another dog to the family unit, but it was worth it to be able to play with fun-loving and affectionate Zoey everyday. Now they can’t afford another one and have bonded with the  puppy.

They’re hoping someone might have seen something suspicious that day, Tuesday, April 23, and that they will call police or CrimeStoppers to report it.

“Anyone who was thinking right would bring this dog back,” she says.

SPCA manager Ferris recommends that dog owners make sure they can identify their lost dog down the line, by providing as much identification as possible, from an implanted microchip, to a distinctive collar as well as photographs of the animal. So if something happens, they’re ready.

“We’ve had cases where the animal shows up much later in another region. It’s more with toy breeds, though, and they’re stolen because they are cute. But then the dog napper realizes there are other issues, like house training or behavioural issues.”

Anyone with information can call RCMP at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers or the Demeter family at 604-793-0855.

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