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

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

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.

Crooks sink to new low as ‘dognapping’ cases increase

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

What would you do if someone stole your dog? Or your cat, for that matter?

It’s probably something that has never crossed your mind. But it is something that you should probably start thinking about. Now.

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

According to a commonly cited statistic, roughly two million companion animals are stolen in the United States each year.  Some disappear from back yards, and some vanish from “public places.” Some are snatched from cars.  Most are never seen again.

Each Valentine’s Day (February 14), Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a Los Angeles-based animal rights and advocacy group, joins similar organizations throughout the country to celebrate Pet Theft Awareness Day.  Its goal is to promote public awareness of the issue.

But to be honest, I had no idea that pet theft is so pervasive until I came across an article on an Ohio television station’s website. The account includes information about a couple that is suing an “estranged family member” who allegedly stole their dog. Shelby Patton, a plaintiff in the case, has reportedly started a petition in an effort to “change Ohio laws” so litigation is no longer necessary.

Fortunately, LCA says there are things pet owners can do to help prevent thefts. You can read those tips here.