Stealing someone’s pet bunny rabbit — now that’s just wrong

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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 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.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

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.

An (alleged) criminal with a conscience… who knew?

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OK. I admit it. I am a cynic. No, make that a dyed-in-the-wool cynic. And I’m proud of it. Not that it should come as a shock or anything. I was a reporter for more than 20 years.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

So imagine my surprise when I came across an article with the following headline: “Fugitive pens letter to law enforcement agencies a week after his capture.”

At first I thought the story might have been left over from April Fools’ Day and someone accidentally re-posted it. Then I thought it was a hoax. Then I actually read it.

Yep, it’s for real, alright. Seriously.

Here’s what happened. Apparently this guy in Texas wasn’t happy about getting pulled over by the police. So he decided to get out of the car and run… and with that, a routine traffic stop turned into a royal cluster-bleep.

The good news is that the good guys — and their dogs — did catch him. Eventually. From what I read, the chase lasted an hour before he was finally taken into custody.

“What I witnessed that night by all the law enforcement personnel was a level of professionalism and team work and respect that I’ve never seen before,” Gregory Wylie said in his letter, which FOX 12 News posted along with the story.

Wylie also admits that he ran because he was “not man enough to face the consequence of my action which led up to the point in my life.”

Well, I don’t know about you. But I, for one, applaud Wylie for having the courage to admit that. It takes guts to admit your shortcomings and it takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to apologize.

Still, I can’t help but question his motives. Was he really sorry for what he did? Or did he just want to score points with the judge?

Crooks now preying on vulnerable pet owners

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

I am keeping it brief today because I really don’t have the words to express my outrage about this. It is so low, so despicable, and so disgusting …. How anyone could stoop to this is beyond me.

I mean, let’s face it — stealing someone’s pet is bad enough. Demanding money from someone who has lost a pet is even worse.

But it happens — and apparently it happens more frequently more than anyone realizes, or cares to admit.

According to one news account, it’s happening in Aurora, Missouri. The story about the family that lost their dog and then got a series of phone calls demanding money in exchange for his return appeared on an ABC affiliate’s website Feb. 17. You can read the details here.

Now imagine how you would feel if this happened to you. What would you do? Where would you turn?

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Numerous websites offer advice on the topic. lists five different shakedowns targeting owners of lost pets and shares tips to keep crooks from taking advantage of you when you’re vulnerable. You should:

  • Make sure your pet is always properly licensed and tagged.
  • Keep your pet indoors, in a secure yard, or on a leash at all times.
  • Limit information in your missing pet advertisements or social media posts  to the essentials.
  • Ask for a phone number if you get a call from someone who says they’ve found your pet and claims to be out-of-state.
  • Make any caller who seems to be ‘fishing’ for information about your pet initiate the questions or comments about your pet’s description.