Canine Rights

Dognapper Leaves Note After Stealing Dog

When Jose Perez, of Benton Harbor, Indiana, went outside to find his family’s 5-year old Siberian Husky, Aspen, on June 11, he instead found a typed note from a dognapper.

“A dog in a pen or on a chain is lonely. All they can look forward to is a meal and hope that someone will spend some time with them,” reads the letter.

The letter, pictured below, was signed “Someone who cares about all dogs.”

When Aspen was dognapped, the thief left this note behind.

If you only read the letter, it’s easy to assume that Aspen was unloved or abused, and that the dognapper was actually doing the dog a favor. But, take a look at the video, from WNDU News, and you’ll see that the Husky was, in fact, very well cared for. His pen was actually quite a large enclosure, there was plenty of shade, room to run and play, and a nice solid doghouse for him to sleep in.

While the vast majority of us keep our dogs indoors, this was hardly a poor living situation for the dog. And, the family says they spent lots of time with their pet and miss him immensely.

The Perez family is offering a $100 reward to anyone that can bring their dog back home. Aspen is microchipped. Please contact Adriana Perez at 269-208-1518 with any information.

In Indiana, there are no laws against penning a dog outside, as long as he is well cared for and has food, water, and shelter – all of which were readily provided for Aspen.

This is a bizarre incident, one that has many people torn – do you support the family or the dognapper, who clearly had the best intentions?

47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. kelli

    Dec 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    As a dog trainer and owner I never recommend dogs live outside due to all the risks, and issues associated with it. However, I have a few clients who do have their dogs outside, and they are loved, cared for members of the family. The called me in for training, and bring the dogs inside when its cold to work on their dog’s indoor manners, and to love on them. Their kennel is actually a large heated shed that has a dog door which leads out to their kennel enclosure. They have plush warm beds, etc. And the owners have a radio inside for the dogs. The dogs are primarily outside because 1 they enjoy it, and 2 allergies that didn’t develop in their daughter till they had them. Soo, instead of dumping them, they made things work. I also have plenty of clients who use outdoor kennels so their dogs have room to run and play while they go to work rather than crate them inside if weather is nce.
    I DO NOT agree with the dognapper in the least. They stole the dog, committed crimes, and therefore should be caught and punished to the full extent of the law! If the dog was being neglected or abused then take proper legal steps to ensure the dog’s care and safety… and if all else failed and the dog became skin and bones, etc. then other action may be taken. However, this is unacceptable.

  2. linda lewis

    Sep 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    i have a peke my sixth they enjoy out doors,but there are things that can harm ther bug eyes and they can be stolen ect.if mine is out i am with her.i had one peke that was in love with the rabbit on the other side of the fence.i had one stolen and it hurts terribly.

  3. Angela

    Jul 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The thief did not “clearly have the best intentions”. He STOLE. If the “best intentions” add up to theft, they were never the best intentions! But the thief benefits no matter what — just look at all this free publicity.

    If I had a fence, I would leave my dog outside more often too. He gets plenty of time with his people, but he LOVES it out there. I will care for my dog based on his needs, which I know better that any rotten THIEF, who has never lived with my dog!

  4. Julie.Tucker.Goldman

    Jun 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Good for the dog napper

  5. Lisa

    Jun 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

    And Vivian he would only end up in a shelter if animal control or police seen a problem. Guess what? They don’t because there isn’t one. That’s why this person did this illegally they didn’t have the best intentions for the dog. Their thieves and they deserve prosecution.

  6. Lisa

    Jun 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I have a 3 year old pit bull, she sleeps inside but spends days outside unless it’s raining. She is usually on a chain that gives her coverage of about an acre of my yard. What this person did was wrong. Just because some of you put your dogs inside doesn’t mean that’s the right way to do it. My brother in law had a puppy he took everywhere with him and first the dog had jealousy issues, then because he slept with him dominance issues started and then the dog attacked someone for saying hi to my brother in law. So please don’t suggest a cage, a yard or a leash create violence or behavior issues. Obviously these people cared about their dog or they wouldn’t have spent the money to build the enclosure or get him microchipped or even take him to the vet. Just because all the owners can afford is $100 that doesn’t make them not care it means that’s all they have to give when they shouldn’t have to give anything at all. Whoever this “dognapper” is I would love for them to come on my property to do better for my dog. Not only is she happy here but, she loves her family and unless her family introduces you, she will eat you and if by some miracle you make it to her chain without a bite I work from home and have a shotgun that won’t miss. My dog is outside during the day whether I am here or not because inside all she does is lay around depressed I let her out and she is happy and running and rolling around in the grass. So tell me I’m a bad doggy parent.

  7. by the sea dog training

    Jun 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    wow can’t beielve some of the comments.. You love that the loved dog was stolen by someone who clearly is an animal activist?? I hope the person that took this dog ends up in Jail!! husky’s actully prefer to be OUTSIDE rather than INSIDE.. Its better for a dog to be outside.. mine are out in thier pen in the daytime if I am home. When I get a good fence I plan on leaving my collie outside with food/water/ and shelter he’d LOVE it! and prefers to be outside rather than inside.. I pitty the moron that removes him from my yard without my persmission… I dare ya.

    SHAME on this moron who took a dog out of a yard! what a moron!

  8. layna

    Jun 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I leave my dogs outside in the back yard on nice days instead of being couped up in the house. I would be mortified to come home and find a note like this. There are other ways to persue what you may think is going on with a dog and its owners. This is downright theft!

  9. al montana

    Jun 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    The dognapper is wrong for stealing but the owners are wrong for Abuse. The dog should be given to a more loveing an capable family!!!!

  10. Vivian

    Jun 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I agree with the person that took Aspen. A lot of the posts say that what this person did is illegal. Maybe so, but what if he had done the “correct” thing and contacted the police and/or animal services? Guess where Aspen would have ended up??? You guessed it…the animal shelter.. and we all know what happens to 90% of the dogs that end up in the shelter! That means, most likely Aspen would have been euthanized. So, I think this person has a good heart, cares about animals and did the right thing! By the way, $100????? really?? – is that all your dog is worth to you? Aspen was outside in a pen. No one knows how long she had been there! Maybe the person that took Aspen knew something none of us knows; Maybe he had been watching Aspen for a very long time and saw that Aspen was always outside! What about when it was freezing cold; or raining? Was Aspen brought inside then? There are extenuating circumstances and I don’t believe that this person’s decision to take Aspen was an impulsively one. I believe he/she had been watching Aspen for a long time! I hope Aspen is happy and well-cared for and loved!! Why would you want a dog to keep it outside in a cage?? I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for the owners!

  11. lisa jones

    Jun 22, 2012 at 4:54 am

    there has to be part of the story we’re not getting. the person that took the dog probably lived close and observed the dog alone and took action. not the right action but desperation pushes us to extremes sometimes. as far as following proper channels, i had a neighbor with a dog that was tied to a dog house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with about 6 foot of chain. reported it twice to animal control and they did NOTHING ! never even investigated.

  12. Laurie

    Jun 22, 2012 at 2:31 am

    With SOOOO many dogs in shelters waiting to be killed you would think this supposed person who cares about dogs would go to one of those as opposed to taking a dog out of someone’s yard. I don’t agree with dogs being chained, tied, caged or crated but if the dog was well cared for and healthy perhaps the owners had a legitimate reason. I have a 100 lb pitbull who is an escape artist…. this can be very dangerous as he is intimidating although a big baby to me. There are too many fear factors for me to just let him roam freely. If I had an inner pen in my yard he would be able to more freedom as opposed to always having to wear a leash (and me…) I hope this family gets their beloved dog back safely and this dog thief has some consequences to face. Not jail time but community service for rescue dogs or something….

  13. Gina

    Jun 22, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I heard on the news that animal control was called out a few times for that husky. I don’t understand the point in having a dog if it’s outside most of the time, in a pen or tied up. Too many people just get a dog w/o investigating the breed and understanding the dogs needs. It was a very bold move, in my heart of hearts I think the dog is better off…..

  14. Bethany

    Jun 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    As a husky owner, I did my research for many years… In fact 10 years before I finally bought my husky. Very rarel should they be left alone at night in a pen, by themselves. They are family dogs who love people and other dogs. This hot weather is the worst for the long haired breed! If this person thought it was cruel they should have called the police or the local animal authority. It is steeling! I do feel for both the family and the “thief”, but under no circumstances should a person steel a dog! Huskies themselves are expensive, high energy, and hard to come by dogs. To even purchase one many breeders do extensive checks to make sure these dogs go to loving homes to people who know what they are getting themselves into. To even type a not means this person did this pre-meditated. So sad. Hopefully he is happy wherever he is..

  15. norasoto

    Jun 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    i support the dog napper

  16. robert

    Jun 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I’m tending to side with the family even though I could never, ever imagine not letting my dog in the house- he is my family. It may not have been the best life for the dog, but unless there is more to this than we know he seemed to be at least loved and taken care of. This kidnapper could have left them a note, or even tried talking to them first without taking the dog. And there are plenty of truly abused and mistreated dogs this person could have focused on.

  17. A mom of two huskies

    Jun 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I’ve read a lot of comments here, and everyone thinks because their dog is inside rather than out, they are somehow better. No – a dog needs water, food, exercise, shelter and love. We all do this in different ways, but it seems by the posted video that the family did that. (Played and ran and took care.) Exercise though, a big thing for dogs, isn’t coming up in these posts. A dog is not happy confined in pen or home without exercise.

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      I’d never have a husky without another dog, since they are more pack animals than other dogs, but many people make single husky/dog homes work.

  18. Mia MacFarlane

    Jun 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    While many people jump to the conclusion that a dog outside must be miserable, some dogs prefer being outside. If the dog has shelter, food, water, a warm place to lay, a place to get out of the elements, that is what is REQUIRED for a dog. My dogs are indoor dogs. In fact every dog I have ever had was an indoor dog. Just because this family had their dog in a pen with everything that is required as well as family interaction, that does not give this do-gooder the right to steal this family’s family member. Whoever it was that took the dog broke the law. They trespassed on this family’s property, they took a member of this family. If this person that took Aspen witnessed the dog being mistreated, he/she should have gone through the proper channels, but instead he/she took it upon themselves to be judge and jury. Personally I do not believe in keeping a dog on a chain or keeping them outdoors. My neighbors keep their dog on a chain, he has food, water, and shelter. Very little interaction, but there is nothing that can be done because they are within the letter of the law. I have spoke to them about their dog being outside and they have said their landlord will allow them to keep the dog but it cannot be in the house.

    Unless this person had authorization from the police or animal control as well as the presence of the police or animal control, what this person did was illegal.

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Shelter, food, and EXCERCISE!

  19. Pat Panek

    Jun 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    No one has the right to take another person’s dog. If they thought the dog was in distress or danger, abused or neglected, there are proper channels to take. This do-gooder is a vigilante and, having a missing dog myself, this strikes a chord.

    My dog is also a husky who let herself out of our fenced in back yard … someone may have her now having made the judgment that she wouldn’t have left a happy situation. She was outside for five minutes; that’s all it took and now she has been gone for seven months. She’s a husky and they are known escape artists. Also, many huskies, not all, prefer to be outdoors.

    It’s sad when there isn’t a life-threatening situation present and people act as though they have the right to take matters into their own hands.

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Yep, a husky can get out of a fence easily if they want. If my youngest husky gets out the front door (no fence) my collie has to go retrieve her for me. I am lucky that my huskies obey the rules of fence in backyard.

      There are so many nuances to every family and situation, unless a dog is starved and alone all the time, who are we to judge? Huskies are very special dogs, extremely intelligent, and escape artists. Few people really get their personalities and needs.

      • A mom of two huskies

        Jun 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

        I actually had to get my collie because when my eldest mixed dog passed of cancer at age 16 (a male), my youngest husky missed him SO much she started digging up the sprinkler system and everything else in backyard (fenced). Got my collie, now 1 year old, and he handles her well. She is 8. My eldest husky is 11. (Both huskies are girls.) The eldest husky walks without a leash and heals perfectly, but used to take off like a shot like her younger sister when she was young. The youngest still takes off like a shot. My collie goes and herds her home, thank god for collies.

    • Laurie

      Jun 22, 2012 at 2:38 am

      sorry about your dog = ( my boy is an escape artist. He is a large pitbull and I have nightmares of him getting hit by a car, hurting another dog or worse… I walk him on a leash in the yard because he got UNDER the fence! If I had a pen I would put him in it when I let them out so he and his sister can play. I hope your baby returns safely or is safe wherever she is.

  20. Christine

    Jun 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    How stupid! This dognapper should be found and fined/jailed for his CRIME! It is NOT his place, or anyone else’s to decide what is “not good enough” when it comes to pets or children! Unless the dog was ACTUALLY being abused/neglected, which it was NOT, then he had no business even reporting the people to the police/ASPCA, let alone STEALING the dog! How would you feel if someone came up to your house and decided that you weren’t treating your child “well enough” for THEIR liking and took your child?? A Pet is the same as a child and everyone needs to MIND THEIR OWN FREAKING BUSINESS!!! Sheesh!! *smh*

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      While I agree that proper channels should have been taken, I also understand someone thinking that the dog needs help. Yes, I agree, the kidnapper was wrong, but they did it with best intentions.

  21. Brenda Friend

    Jun 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    obviously the whole story isnt being told here. I have seen cases where the dog would be better off somewhere else.. seen on chain, no place to get out of elements, no hay in doghouse.. no water or food in sight.. maybe they did the dog a favor..

  22. Dianne

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    on the dognapper’s side on this one….it’s the kind of thing I would do. and it’s the right thing to do.

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      I understand your gut reaction Dianne, but there are lots of dogs and puppies in shelters and abusive homes that need help before one that is played with by children and well taken care of. I watched the video of family’s side, and while I would never have a dog that way, there are many that make it work.

  23. Rhonda

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I don’t agree with how they did it but I agree with the dognapper. All dogs belong inside with their owners. We all can say that we spend lots of time outside with our pet but I’ve never personally seen anyone pay sufficient attention to a dog that is left outside to live. People get busy and that dog is probably lucky if they remembered to feed and water it.

  24. Jim

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    My dog gets a lot of attention except when I have to be gone to dialysis, he has his own 32 inch flat screen TV tuned to animal planet. he is not left outside alone he stays in the house and always gets my attention. Stealing is wrong the love of a dog by an owner is extremely important.
    And more than a dish of food a dog should be treated with respect always.

  25. Trayce O

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I do not agree with the dogknapper’s way he obtained the dog, Aspen. But, I can understand his concerns about Aspens living conditions..Did the napper observe this family for awhile and came to the determination that Aspen was mistreated?
    I sympathize with both parties BUT THE DOG BELONGS TO THE FAMILY and should be returned (don’t forget they can track it with his microchip)
    Good luck to both parties..I have a feeling the napper is closer than you think. Maybe, a neighbor or a “friend” who felt bad for Aspen.

    • Rhonda

      Jun 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      They can’t track the dog with the microchip. The only way that chip is going to get the dog returned is if they give it to someone who has the dog scanned for a chip. Chips should work like lojack but they don’t.

  26. Deemitt

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Wow that is a tough one. While I treat my dog as a human and they are in the house with me, it doesn’t mean Aspen was mistreated because he is outside. I think there are many other dogs in worst conditions that the dognapper could have actually saved. I’m with the family!

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      I’m with the family too. They obviously cared for him, watered, fed, and played with him. The children miss him. He must have been part of the family. Now, if he were mistreated, beaten, or ignored, that would be different. I am single because I loved dogs more than anything and mine sleep with me, not everyone has to do that! They can love, care, and socialize their dogs differently than me!

  27. Crystal

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I can see both sides, where the pen was an OK environment, he is a husky a winter dog, they require controlled climate, and if in fact he is one of the family, he dont need to be in a pen outside AWAY from the family.. I see both sides how ever I am siding with the ones who stole the dog, he will be an indoor loved, played with animal. I feel for the family’s loss, but hopefully this is a lesson to them and other dog owners who CLAIM they are one of the family.. Do you keep your kids locked up in a pen outside? No they sleep indoors in a bed and eat inside where it is cool and comfortable, the dog should have the same kind of treatment. I am a firm believer of doing to our animals as we would do to our children. This is sad how ever it is a happy time as well he will get things he may have never experienced before : ) I am still sorry for the loss, but maybe take this as a lesson, not a bad lesson, but a lesson saying “Is this how you treat family?” Good luck to all involved in this situation.

    • A mom of two huskies

      Jun 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Crystal – While I live in Minnesota with my huskies and collie, I’ve visited my sister in Arizona and have seen huskies there. Dogs aclimate to their environment well, even huskies. I think if the family played, excercised, and fed their dog and their children played with it, they did well, better than most. Not all dogs can be in the house with us (I’m a single lady of 54 with my own home that is set up for dogs, my dream). I feel for this family, but understand why the kidnapper did it. They should have learned more before kidnapping it. It could be worse off.

    • Yvette R.

      Aug 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      “he will be an indoor loved, played with animal”

      First of all, how do you know that this dog was not played with?

      Second, huskies are NOT indoor dogs. They would be bored stiff in a house, even if played with (and how COULD play be possible if there is nowhere to run?). A human house would feel like a home to humans, but a jail cell to these creatures.

      “Siberian Huskies are very active indoors and do best with a fenced-in LARGE YARD.” — quote from dogbreedinfo.com

      Whoever stole this dog from its family needs to be punished for sticking his nose into other peoples’ business and taking the law into his hands.

  28. Deb

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Totally agree with the person who wrote the note. However, I hope this person had extensive knowledge about the family that owned the dog before assuming that the dog would be better off. It would have to be based on consistency of leaving the animal without human interaction and never let indoors in extreme heat or cold.

    Not everyone needs to have a pet and so many who do have pets have no clue about how to treat a pet. Unfortunately, most state laws treat pets as personal property whose only basic needs must be met, so there is little relief for a pet that would be better off in a different environment.

    From one who is a conscientious pet owner, public animal shelter volunteer and employee.

    • Pip

      Aug 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

      YES!! Thank you for this comment. We have neighbours who keep their dogs outside in a pen, 24/7 – except for when they let them out and they run loose. There is no law here against either. I have lived here five years and have seen many dogs come & go from their house, they mysteriously disappear, the first I know of was elderly. They have all been kept the same way. I have rarely seen anyone interact with the dogs, and I have to drive right by their house to leave my neighbourhood, only way in/out. They have puppies now, thin but not to the point that ac takes them, although they were about two months ago. They were reclaimed and now treated the same way. The family, of course, says they play with them all the time, etc. Just not true.

      I understand some people have dogs that stay out sometimes for a few hours, have interaction, come inside….but I’m not one of them, mine are spoiled 😉 But I would imagine this dognapper acted based on knowledge of the family and experience on what’s going on. Remember, you’re only seeing one part of this whole picture.

  29. A mom of two huskies

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Iunderstand the anxst the kidnapper felt seeing a huskie caged outdoors in a pen. I have two huskies and a collie that all sleep with me, and Ihave dog doors to a large fenced backyard, and also walks every day with pack if weather permits (and dog park visits to a 26 acre park once a week).

    However, looks can be deceiving. If the husky is socialized in family and happy, and has exercise, the owners are good and kind.

    I think the whole situation is a misunderstanding of someone caring, who should be made aware of the situation. There are much worse situations for dog than the one they stole.

    Kaye, Chaos, Ditto and Dax

  30. Janice Bennett

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Is that all that Perez can afford to get back his precious dog? He can’t care too much for the poor dog.

    • Linda

      Jun 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      They shouldn’t have to pay anything. That person should be in jail. My Husky was stolen 12 times and got hit by a car once trying to get home. And the one time she was pregnant she was stolen then. Got her days before whelping.

    • layna

      Jun 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      I have a special needs dog and all of my expendable income goes to his care. If that is all they money they have then so be it, they shouldn’t be judged by how much money they are offering. The dog should not have been stolen in the first place.

  31. Mary

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I am a dog lover, had dogs my entire life. I love what this person did. Why have a dog if you are going to mistreat it like that? And yes, these owners WERE mistreating that poor dog!
    I hope it’s happy at last!

    • Linda

      Jun 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      My dogs sleep inside the house at nite. During the day, one of them who is a fence jumper, stays in a roofed-dog pen. The rest run in the yard or hang out on the patio where they sleep. My dogs are happy, loving, and loved. If everyone could afford to stay home with their dogs I am sure we would all do that.

  32. Monique Klabis

    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    There are legal routes to try first…IF abuse is suspected. This was just plain theft…despite the “best intentions.”

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