Everett has recently seen an uprise of stolen dogs throughout the community. The Everett Police department recently shared images captured on a local family’s surveillance camera of a white male walking onto a porch and leaving with the family’s pit bull puppy. Thanks to the home security cameras, Everett police were able to easily identify the man when they later saw him walking down Elm Street with the dog that was taken. An arrest was made and the dog was reunited with its family. Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie expressed “As a dog owner myself, there would be nothing worse than somebody taking your pet. We take these crimes seriously and are happy that we were able to reunite the owners with their puppy.”
While this may seem out of the ordinary, there has been a drastic increase of stolen dogs in the area as of late. Everett resident Stacia Gorgone and founder of local dog rescue Kickass K9, shares that dog owners should be on alert. She has seen firsthand an increase of missing dogs that mysteriously escaped their backyards without a trace. “It’s not a coincidence that six small white dogs went missing within a week,” she shared. As a volunteer in the city she is well aware of the ongoing issue. The frightening part is that pet owners hate to think anyone could really steal their beloved family member and often believe that if their dog disappears from the backyard it must have snuck out on its own. The truth of the matter is, dogs are stolen for a variety of reasons including quickly resold on the street for fast money, not limited to selling them to dog fighting rings where they are used to train larger dogs to be aggressive, or withholding them from families for ransom money. Stacia Gorgone has seen it all. If canine kidnappers realize they may not be able to sell the stolen dog as quickly as they thought, they often let the pups loose in cemeteries or parking lots where they won’t be seen dropping the dog off.
City Councilor John Hanlon was recently a victim of this crime when his dog Ginger appeared to be missing from his backyard. The small ten year old dog doesn’t so much as step foot off of the Hanlon’s property without being coaxed, much less cross busy Main Street and end up alone several blocks away behind Best Buy. Hanlon suspects that someone trespassed onto his property and took her. “There’s no way she would have been able to cross Main Street,” he shared. Luckily, he was reunited with the dog after someone spotted her and contacted Everett Police. In this case, there is no proof that the dog was taken, but the circumstances are just too suspicious. Hanlon and his wife Fran are relieved to have their pet back safe and sound since they consider Ginger “a member of the family.”
Another Everett resident had a close call on Irving Street when she caught someone on her property trying to coax her dog out of her front yard. Sureya Battista let her dog in her fenced in front yard one rainy evening only to hear the gate latch open and the sound of her dog growling. She immediately looked out the door, where a hooded man was approaching her dog. Battista said she asked the man what he was doing on her property and he “was startled, and seemed caught off guard. He asked if this was my dog” before quickly leaving the premises. While she has not seen the man since, she has kept an extra eye on her chihuahua Rocco.
These instances only occurred in the last month, and there have been several more since. It is especially important for dog owners to keep an extra eye on their pups when they let them outside, even if they’re leashed or behind a gate. If a dog appears to have escaped, Stacia Gorgone encourages people to call the Everett police directly at 617-387-1212 and inform them of the situation immediately even if foul play initially seems doubtful. Pet owners can also go online and contact Missing Dogs Massachusetts with information about their pet to ensure it gets home quicker. The sooner people act on their pet’s disappearance, the better. On the other hand, for those who may find missing dogs, it is best to contact the police to assure the dog doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Gorgone stresses the importance of licensing, microchipping, and posting signs to assure dogs return home safely. She emphasizes “be on guard, and know that your pets may not have escaped, they may have been stolen too. It’s important to report it.” We are fortunate to live in a city where the police are passionate about their pets too, and are willing to do all they can to help reunite owners and pets.