Just when you thought crime couldn’t get any worse in New York City, some scumbags come along and steal someone’s pet bunny rabbit. Now that’s just wrong.
I read about the incident on usnews.com a couple of days ago. But since the Associated Press doesn’t want its material rewritten or redistributed), I won’t go into any details here. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to click the link. If you don’t want to read the story yourself, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
But that’s really neither here nor there. The bottom line is the story made my blood boil. I mean, come on. Really? What the hell is wrong with people? It’s bad enough to steal someone’s stuff, but taking their pet is disgusting, cruel, and downright despicable. The people who did it obviously have no shame, that much is for sure.
Moral outrage aside, the incident does raise an interesting question about how we value our pets.
Assuming the owner(s) filed a police report, they would have to provide a monetary value for any and all stolen property — including the bunny. (Yes, legally, our pets are also considered personal property.) To the police, that’s very important. The value of the stolen property determines how the incident is classified — specifically whether it’s categorized as a misdemeanor (petty theft/petty larceny) or a felony.
Yes, it’s cold. But legally, that’s just the way it is.
So how much is a pet bunny worth? Or any pet, for that matter? Do you put what you paid for your pet? What if you got it for free? When you calculate its value, do you include veterinary costs, the amount spent on pet food, pet toys, and other accessories? If you have and show a purebred dog or cat, do you include its winnings? What if you have a purebred dog, cat, rabbit that you are breeding? Do you include income from the past sales of its offspring?
And then there are the emotional aspects. How do you put a monetary value on a companion? A family member? A friend? If your pet is also a therapy animal, how do put a monetary value on the service it provides for others?
The question is almost impossible to answer. Personally, I’ve loved my pets more than life and I’ve spent thousands on them over the years. So far this week alone, I’ve spent more than $200 on Eli’s medicine. His vet visit — including x-rays, blood work and exam — well, let’s just say it was expensive. But more importantly, it’s worth it.