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Attempted dog abduction raises questions



Why someone would want to steal her dog Emma Sanderson doesn’t know, but one possibility suggested is that someone might be hoping to collect a reward.

Sanderson had walked her dog to the McDonald’s in Pemberton at approximately 1 p.m. on Saturday, tying her dog to the hitching post outside.

She looked back to check on the dog at one point and saw that it was gone. She then rushed outside, where she found her dog around the corner, still attached to the leash.

Two people who were eating on the McDonald’s patio then realized that someone had just attempted to steal Vinny, and told her the story.

According to the witnesses, a First Nations woman had driven into the parking lot, apparently with kids in her car, and untied the dog from the hitching post. While she was attempting to put Vinny into the car, the dog squirmed free and ran back to the station. The woman then drove off.

Sanderson checked the security tapes at the Shell station with the help of the attendant and saw the attempted theft take place, but the woman’s car was not in the footage. She contacted the RCMP and told them the story.

According to Sanderson her dog has no real value, and wasn’t a rare or expensive breed – "it’s part Welsh terrier, part Jack Russell, and a lot of other things, and he really couldn’t look more mutt-ly."

When she contacted the RCMP the possibility was raised by a friend that the would-be dog thief was attempting to steal the dog in order to collect reward money. Several pet owners have posted large rewards recently for missing pets, as much as $1,000 in some cases.

With free dogs available from WAG, and no shortage of puppies or dogs in the Pemberton area, Sanderson thought the idea that it might be stolen for a pet unlikely. Also, the dog is unique enough in appearance that she doubted it could have been a case of mistaken identity.

Sanderson has not heard back from the RCMP since she made her report, and the woman from the security tape has not been identified.

Staff Sergeant Norm McPhail of the Whistler/Pemberton detachment said he has not heard of pets being stolen for the reward money, but that it was "an interesting possibility" that could be looked into.

The RCMP’s general policy is that rewards "are not something we encourage, but in the end it’s up to people how they want to use their own money and time," said McPhail. "Pets are almost family members for most people, so it’s natural they would want to push ahead with all kinds of efforts to get back something they care about."

That said, McPhail reminds people they should use caution when leaving anything they value in a public place, and that people should take care when securing their pets for the animal’s own safety.

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