Nearly two weeks later, Ahmad Mheisen of Dearborn still can’t believe what happened.
The Hartwell Street resident fell victim to a pair of on June 25–quite literally. Two teenage men in a light-green minivan stopped in front of Mheisen’s house around 2 p.m., walked up his driveway and snatched three of his pet cats, according to a Dearborn police report.
Although one of the 47-year-old’s kittens had a microchip in place that would help rescue organizations and veterinarians find its owner, Mheisen has had no luck in locating his cats, he said.
“I don’t see the reason why someone would take them,” he said. “The kids loved to play with them–especially the babies.”
But Mheisen isn’t alone. On June 30, a dog was stolen from a Dearborn Heights home during a burglary. Now, that family is for the safe return of their bichon-Maltese mix, Stanley.
Animal theft isn’t the most common of crimes and statistics for pet thefts are hard to track due to the lack of a clear category for the act in police reports. Nonetheless, for loving owners of animals, it’s an issue that can’t be overlooked, said Sandy Boulton, public relations director for the .
“People forget that individuals steal animals,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a prank. Sometimes they want an animal and it’s the only way they can get one. And sometimes it’s malicious intent.”
The best defenses against animal thieves are simple, Boulton said.
First, animals should always have proper collars along with tags that include their owner’s contact information. Microchips can also be implanted beneath a pet's skin, allowing animal shelters and veterinarians to properly identify and locate owners.
But most of all–and despite how smart, cunning or cool-headed we think animals may be–pets need to be constantly supervised, Boulton said.
“Leaving (animals) unattended in any capacity–even in your own yard–for any window of time, leaves them vulnerable for anybody to take them,” she said.
This protection is not only important to prevent animal theft, however. Boulton added that it’s also the best way to keep pets from overheating in the summer. Leaving animals unattended outside or in vehicles is ill advised, she said, and either can lead to unhealthy or missing pets.
“Think of an animal as a very young child–as a toddler,” Boulton said. “Much like a child, they need our supervision."