Don't mess with Pet City
It was a family affair for a team of dognappers who put their kids to work to steal a $3,000 English bulldog from a north Houston pet store on Sunday. Thanks to the foresight of the crafty owners at Pet City Houston, however, the puppy has been returned without a scratch.
"We just got her back," manager Samantha Stack told CultureMap Monday. "She's eating right now, although we're unsure how much food she's had since yesterday, or if she ate at all."
Stack said a mother with her two daughters walked into the store, accompanied by two other men, and asked to see the two-month-old pup. Another customer, who had inquired about the dog earlier in the day, arrived moments later as the family played with the animal.
"I tried to chase them, but there was no hope as they drove away" Samantha Stack said. "I called the cops and they started going through our video footage right away."
"The mom and kids left the two men with the dog and walked out to the parking lot," she said. "At that point, the second customer said he'd definitely take the bulldog if they weren't interested."
Moments later the two male suspects ran towards the door with the dog, hopping into the car the mother has backed up to the front of the store.
"I tried to chase them, but there was no hope as they drove away. I called the cops and they started going through our video footage right away."
Surveillance images from the store's 40 high-definition cameras gave a clear shot of each suspect. After the videos were broadcast on the evening news, Harris County police followed several tips to the Bristol Place apartments just north of Beltway 8. Law enforcement found the puppy hidden under a pile of clothes and took the woman and another man into custody.
"It's not so much about the money when something like this happens," Stack said. "We work very hard to make sure our animals go to good homes and we want to make sure they get proper care. We're so happy the dog's with us again."
Not the first time
Pet City is no stranger to animal theft. In recent years, one man went so far as to pull the security bars off the front of the store with his car — all in an effort to nab three bulldogs. Surveillance videos shown on local news outlets once again led to the culprit's arrest, but, sadly, the dogs had already made their way to the black market.
Stack said that high-price dogs appear to be the most popular target for animal thefts, but not always . . .
"This guy stole a six-inch tortoise once," she remembered. "We had him on film breaking into the glass cage and walking out of the store. He looked right into the camera and gave the peace sign."
Pet City posted the man's image on Facebook and he was arrested within days too.
Watch KHOU's report on the case: