A brazen early morning break-and-enter on Tuesday in the city’s Letitia Heights area has left a Barrie family desperate for the return of their beloved dog, Frazer.
Shortly after 5 a.m., on Nov. 23, city police say two women knocked on the door of an Orwell Crescent home and then forced their way inside, grabbing the family’s German boxer before fleeing to a waiting black Honda Civic.
A neighbour who was out shovelling his driveway heard the commotion and ran across the street to attempt to intervene, but the car got away, Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon told BarrieToday.
In an email to BarrieToday, Maghen Dunne said the family is "devastated."
"My father rescued Frazer from a bad living situation from people who were neglecting him and unable to care for him," she said, adding the missing pooch is almost four years old now. "My dad is disabled suffering from MS, so Frazer is his best friend and brought so much love and light in to his life."
“That car drove off with a neighbour attached to it,” said Leon. “He got dragged about 30 metres before he was able to free himself from the vehicle and got thrown to the ground."
The neighbour was taken to local hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Leon added.
Police are still looking for information on the incident and seeking possible witnesses, including a silver SUV that was travelling in the area at the time of the canine abduction and may have seen the getaway car.
“We are certainly following up and trying to get the dog back to the family, first and foremost, but also to find the persons who are responsible... as well as the driver, as their driving behaviour was dangerous enough in nature that it caused injury to this innocent bystander, who tried to intervene as a good Samaritan,” Leon said.
“The vehicle sped off with him holding on for dear life and he was able to free himself and the vehicle continued along," Leon added. "He hit the roadway and I believe the vehicle did make contact with him.”
Police believe the thieves knew exactly what they were doing and targeted the home for a reason.
“As soon as the homeowners opened the door, they forced their way in and the dog was right there; they grabbed it and turned and out the door they went real quick," Leon said. "Obviously, the dog was the target of the theft. I don’t see that this is the type of dog that‘s going to be advertised for sale. … They took this dog for a reason, and that’s what we want to find out.
“It’s a family pet and to target somebody’s pet like that is pretty serious stuff. It’s a situation where we want to get that dog back to the family where it belongs, but also find the people that are responsible for this and hold them accountable," he added.
While there have been instances in other jurisdictions where people have attempted to sell animals on various buy-and-sell platforms that have ultimately turned violent, Leon told BarieToday this is the first incident of this kind here in the city in quite a while.
“It just shows the level and the severity of how things are in society right now. There seems to be a lack of respect for other people’s property, and we are certainly seeing that with the different types of crimes that are being reported to us,” he said.
“We are seeing crimes in our community that aren’t traditionally seen.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 705-725-7025, ext. 2129.