When one of Alex Jarman’s dogs went missing from his rural property while the family was at church one Sunday, it wasn’t hard to guess who stole it.
But he can’t prove that it was a nosy neighbour so he’s left in a legal limbo just hoping someone who may have spotted or adopted or was sold a black puppy might recognize it from a photo.
For the eight months Jarman his wife and seven kids have lived in the east Chilliwack house, they’ve noticed a woman and sometimes her adult daughter peering onto their property, sometimes trespassing on the large lot that has a barn and outbuildings on it.
Then a month ago one Sunday, the Jarmans went to church as they always do, leaving their puppy named Night on a long lead on their large, covered porch. When they returned, Night was gone.
“Somebody took off the cable lead and took the dog,” an exasperated Jarman said while showing The Progress around the property.
“But I don’t have any proof that she took my dog.”
The next day, the Jarmans got a visit from the SPCA following up on a complaint that he was neglecting dogs. The SPCA found nothing wrong with the way they treated their other three dogs, housed in outbuildings with large fenced in pens.
He doesn’t have proof the woman across the street, who has many dogs of her own, took 10-month-old Night. But then the day after that, he has security footage of the woman, then her adult daughter, nonchalantly walking up their driveway and across the front yard.
Then, three days later, he caught the woman walking up a lane on the west edge of his property and confronted her, filmed her with his phone as she admitted “I was over there checking on your dogs.”
“If you guys are gone, I’ll go in there,” she yells in the video to which Jarman yells back that she should leave them alone and stop trespassing.
“When you abandon your dogs… when you are gone, we will feed those animals,” the woman says.
Jarman called the police but an RCMP officer who attended said there wasn’t much they could do without any solid proof. It was suggested he put up no trespassing signs, maybe a gate.
The SPCA said they respond to every complaint they receive and would have only attended to a formal complaint of concern.
“If we attend and there is no issue, the file is simply closed,” spokesperson Lorie Chortyk said, adding that they could not share information from cruelty investigations.
As for whether or not the neighbour took Night?
“The theft of a dog would be a police matter (animals are considered property under the law), so we wouldn’t be involved in those cases at all,” Chortyk explained.
“He’s a family member,” Jarman said. “This isn’t a piece of property.”
In a desperate attempt to find any information, Jarman said he contacted the church across the street – not the church he attends – which is next to the woman’s house, to see if any parishioners saw anything that Sunday morning.
“A person called and said she was driving from the west and saw a woman struggling in the ditch with a black, unwilling dog,” Jarman said, adding that as far as he knows the woman doesn’t have any black dogs.
Nevertheless, he doesn’t have enough to prove and he’s left with a neighbourly dispute, and his kids are left wondering if they will every see their puppy again.
“She is so malicious,” he said. “We didn’t do anything wrong to her. I’m feeling absolutely helpless.”
Jarman said he’s hoping someone will recognize the dog from his photo and call the SPCA.