NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A Norwalk pet store owner is hoping surveillance video will help track down a man he said brazenly stole an expensive English bulldog puppy from the shop on Monday.
Monty Kaufman, owner of Puppies of Westport, said a man and a young boy came into the store to look at the 12-week-old, $4,000 puppy.
WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports
After playing with the pup, Kaufman said the man tried to pay for it using a bad credit card.
As the woman who manages the store placed a call to American Express, the man, who is seen in the video holding the puppy, ushers the boy out the door. A few moments later, he walks out with the puppy in his arms.
“You don’t expect to see someone steal a dog with a child first of all. Second of all, you don’t expect him to be as nonchalant as he was,” Kaufman told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
As the video shows, it took store clerk Liz Cerone a moment or two to realize the thief wasn’t coming back.
“She chased him screaming and he just rode away,” Kaufman told WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau. “He almost ran her over. She tried to grab the door. He locked the doors and she came back and called 911.”
Cerone, who got the vehicle’s license plate number, only to learn later it, too, was bogus, said she did what she did for the dog. In an industry much criticized for the treatment of animals as mere commodities, the folks at this pet store seem genuinely anxious for the missing puppy.
“I keep re-playing it in my head. It was just involuntary. I saw the man run, saw him outside the store and I do not know what came over me. I just ran out the door,” Cerone told CBS 2’s Young.
Kaufman said at 3 months old, the puppy’s immune system is not yet developed and the young dog requires special care. He said the dog is so expensive because he was bred by artificial insemination, delivered by Caesarian and hand fed for the first six weeks of life.
English bulldogs are among the most expensive animals on the puppy market, the owner said.
“Bulldogs are just so cute and adorable and innocent and frankly, very difficult to keep healthy,” he said. “If that dog comes down with something and doesn’t get proper care, he could get very sick.”
The store’s co-owner bristled at suggestion that this was just another robbery.
“I’ve never been more upset by anything except losing a family member because he is my family member,” Lauren Meren told CBS 2’s Young. “Every dog who leaves this store gets my cell phone number. I don’t know where he is. I know where all my other dogs are.”
Kaufman said the store is offering a $500 reward for anyone who can identify the man seen in the surveillance video. You can reach the store at (203) 222-5400 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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