A pet store in Chicago, Pet Luv pet center on south Cicero, was broken into late Saturday or early Sunday and 20 puppies, including boxers, beagles, golden retrievers, huskies as well as a puggle and a Pekinese were stolen.

It seems the thieves smashed the front window, dumped the puppies into a garbage can and dragged them out of the store. They were not too gentle either, four of the puppies were found in the alley, one with a broken leg.

Now, I do not like pet stores selling puppies because the majority of them, regardless of what pet store owners claim, come from puppy mills but a crime like this is still horrific because who knows what may happen to these puppies.

Pet store owner, Cindy Groenewold said, “It’s pretty scary every time it happens. Then, you wonder too, where they go with the dogs. I think what they do is they sell them at flea markets. You don’t think that they’re going to end up in very good homes once they’ve been stolen like that.”

Animal advocates say the puppies undoubtedly are headed toward the pet black market, a highly mobile and unorganized racket that can be found in urban parking lots and rural bazaars across the nation. Sellers typically offer the animals for less than one-third of the store price, and sometimes for as little as $50.

“The person who can’t afford the $500 puppy in the window now can get one,” said Martin Mersereau, supervisor of the cruelty casework division for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “But the animal has everything to risk because someone who can’t afford a $500 dog won’t have the money for a vet bill that will easily add up to that in the first year.”

The animals, taken from glass-walled pens on the main floor and unlocked cages in the storage room, are estimated to be worth between $10,000 and $15,000.

“They were definitely being selective,” said employee Doug Gallian, 24, who discovered the burglary at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday. “Anyone who does any kind of research knows there is a big range in what they sell for.”

The store did have video cameras but it seems the thief really knew what they were doing and disable them so there is no video evidence.

Experts say reports of dog theft appear to be rising, particularly the teacup hounds that actresses and celebutantes are seen vamping with in the pages of celebrity magazines.

“They could be going a thousand places: sold for research or used as bait to train pit bulls, but most likely it’s for resale,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States. “It’s a lucrative industry because the demand for dogs has been increasing.”

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Source – ABC7, Chicago Tribune

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