Puppy stolen at Howard pet shop

$1,600 Pomeranian needs special care


Howard County police are looking for a dognapper who swiped a purebred Pomeranian puppy from its cage in the back room of a pet store in The Mall in Columbia and then slipped out a nearby service entrance.

The orange-and-white female puppy, which weighs two pounds and is valued at $1,600, was being medicated for hypoglycemia, a condition common in young so-called toy dogs because they demand a lot of sugar and are not yet capable of regulating it, according to petplace.com, an informational Web site.

"The dog is already under stress, and any more stress could cause her blood sugar to go down quickly if not fed regularly," said Mary Stacey, owner of Jemar Pet Supplies in Rising Sun. "Pomeranians don't eat but a tiny bit of food in the first place, and one that young has to be fed more often than a regular dog. It's a critical time. Three or four days can make a big difference."

Store manager Joseph Wagner said the 10-week-old puppy was stolen from the back room kennel of Today's Pet on June 28, apparently by someone who escaped through an unlocked back door to the second-floor store just steps from the service entrance, which opens to the outside.

Wagner said that he doesn't believe the Pomeranian, which arrived at the store from a breeder June 13, was targeted by the thief.

"I think [the dog] was the closest one to the door, and the thief reached in and grabbed that one," he said.

An employee discovered the kennel door open and the dog missing about 10 p.m. Workers filed a police report and notified all veterinarians and animal control facilities in the area. Wagner said that a microchip was implanted in the puppy's shoulder for identification.

Sherry Llewellyn, a spokeswoman for Howard County police, said that local animal control officers have not noticed a rash of recent high-end dog thefts, but an electronic search of news articles nationwide shows a number of thefts of small dogs from pet stores in recent years.

Toy dogs, small enough to fit in a handbag, have become popular, showing up in the company of celebrities such as Paris Hilton, who has a Chihuahua.

According to the American Kennel Club, Pomeranians, which stand 5 to 7 inches high and have long, silky hair, were among the 15 most-popular dogs in the United States last year and in 2004.

"There have been a lot of problems with toy dogs being stolen out of pet stores because people can just stuff them in their jackets and walk right out the door," Stacey said.

Anyone with information on the theft should contact Howard County police at 410-313-3200.


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