When the economy is in bad shape for a long time, people expect crime to increase across the board. It comes as no surprise when gang related violence and robberies surge, but it is startling when strange crimes like animal kidnapping become more common. Such was the ordeal facing Prospect Heights resident Dina Sasson. A New York Daily News report detailed the ridiculous yet scary situation Sasson found herself in when her dog was kidnapped and held for a $100 ransom.
The trouble started when Disco, Sasson’s 5-year-old Shih Tzu, escaped from Sasson’s mother’s front yard in Midwood two weeks ago. Two women who found the dog called the number on Disco’s collar and demanded a reward, threatening that if they weren’t compensated, Sasson wouldn’t see the dog again.
Fearing that alerting the police would bring harm to her dog, Sasson agreed to meet the kidnappers behind a Shop Rite located on Kings Highway and West 13th street in Gravesend.
“I was frantic,” Sasson told the Daily News. “I gave them the money and then walked away. I just wanted my dog back.”
According to the Daily News, animal kidnapping has been on the rise.
“They either steal dogs to keep for themselves, sell on the black market, give as gifts to others, or hold as ransom until the owners pay them money,” a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club said.
Nationally, the group recorded 255 thefts in 2010, 444 in 2012, and a nearly 60% rise in the number of cases reported over the first quarter this year, she said.
The lesson here is that animal owners should take extra care in keeping an eye on their pets so that they aren’t forced into similar creepy situations.