MAY 6, 2015 UPDATE: Fannie has been returned to her dog dad, and one of the suspected dognappers was arrested and charged with three felony counts.
Two women wearing green uniforms showed up on the doorstep of Caesar Aguilar in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles April 14, telling him they were with the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACTF). They said the ACTF had received multiple complaints that his dog, Fannie, was being neglected. They handed him an official ACTF flyer and demanded to confiscate Fannie so she could be examined for signs of neglect or abuse.
Aguilar did as they asked, and the women drove off with his dog.
Knowing he had not been neglecting Frannie, a small, white dog who appears to be a Maltese mix, Aguilar called the number on the flyer. The ACTF answered, but told him the department had no record of complaints or knowledge of the confiscation.
An LAPD news release describes the suspects as an Hispanic woman and a white woman. Both appeared to be in their mid-30s, about 5 feet tall and weighing about 140 pounds.
The ACTF is concerned that other pet parents may be victims of this scam.
Scott Stephen, a neighbor of Aguilar, seems to feel the same way I do: Good luck taking our dogs away from us.
“I love this dog to death, so I probably couldn’t be separated even with physical force,” he told CBS Los Angeles. “But that’s certainly a challenge, especially when someone looks like an authority figure.”
If someone comes to your door claiming to be an officer, the LAPD advises that you ask for identification, and examine it closely to see if it is official. If you’re still suspicious, ask for additional proof. And if you suspect someone is impersonating an officer, call 911 immediately.
Anyone with information about the dog thieves is asked to call LAPD’s Rampart Area Burglary Detectives at 213-484-3400 or 877-527-3247. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Photo via Twitter