Who stole Laika?
That’s what the 11-year-old dog’s owner, cops, and the local dog-loving assemblyman are asking since the Husky with a lustrous coat and two bad hips was dognapped from outside Provisions grocery store in Fort Greene on July 24.
Natalie Barratt, Laika’s owner, had tied her up while she shopped at around 8:50 pm, but a man in a wheelchair and his female companion untied the dog, a security camera showed (the shocking video is above).
“She’s a very friendly dog,” Barratt said. “But if they’re thinking of keeping her, they’ll find that she’s a bit of a handful. Because of her hips, she’s having trouble staying housebroken.”
The theft not only hit Laika’s owners hard; it motivated Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Fort Greene) to action.
“As a dog owner I cannot imagine what this must be like,” he said. “If anyone has any information at all, please contact the owner and help bring Laika home.”
Lentol loves his dog so much that he has a framed picture of his pup McDonald in his office, right next to a photo of Lentol kissing the Pope’s ring. He said he is drafting anti-dognapping legislation, though stealing anything from someone is already illegal.
Currently, animals are considered property, whose value is judged as other property would be judged: by market conditions. An unneutered or unspayed purebred dog, for example, is considered to have higher value than, say, a common neutered mutt, because of its money-making potential.
Lentol’s bill would change that, making dognapping, catnapping or other pet-napping its own classification of crime.
A police source said that there are no suspects, but cops have brought in a person in a wheelchair and his female companion — who vaguely resembled the people in the surveillance camera shot — for questioning, though no arrests have been made.
Barratt is offering a $200 reward for the Husky’s return, no questions asked. The dog is named after Laika, the first animal ever launched into space by the Russians in 1957.
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