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Burglars Add to List of What They Take – Pets Stolen in South Florida Home Intrusions

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August 12, 2011
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Burglars Add to List of What They Take – Pets Stolen in South Florida Home Intrusions

We know from reading just a few police reports on burglaries what the bad guys like to steal from you: cash, jewelry, electronics, guns, and prescription drugs top the list. The non-cash items can be turned into cash easily, which is what the thieves want – and the intent is often to feed a drug habit, which is driving increased home intrusions in many parts of the US. But a report I just read from South Florida shows that there are other things that burglars may take with them: your pets.

For 10 years, the Budd family shared its life with Kaycee, a white and brown Lhasa Apso and Bichon Frise mix who belly-flopped in the water from their ski boat, loved to run on the beach and snored while she slept. The Budds used to tell each other how much they would dread the day something would happen to their 15-pound treasure. That day came recently when burglars added Kaycee to the stolen loot taken from their West Park home including two Apple laptops, three iPods, one flat-screen TV, gold jewelry and a pair of Nike running shoes.

Pets Do Become Part of the Family

“She has been like a person; she is not a dog,” said Sharon Budd, a teacher at Lakeside Elementary School. “It’s like they took my child. Every day it’s tearing me apart. The house is too quiet now. It’s not like she is dead so we would have closure. She is lost somewhere out there. The unknown is killing me."

I know how important pets can be to a family. When we moved to DC in 2006, my wife insisted that we set up at least the fire monitoring portion of our home alarm system immediately: as she was quick to point out, our two dogs did not dial 911 very well, and we were both out of the house all day. I also wrote about pets and alarm systems last fall, referencing fire monitoring and also pet-immune motion sensors, the kind that FrontPoint provides. Now here’s more on the Florida pet thefts:

One of Several Missing Pets

The Budd family’s case is the third South Florida home robbery within a month where thieves walked away with the family dog. Robbers broke into the Bonocore family’s Cutler Bay home and stole Lila, a 4-month-old pug. Then somebody broke into the Palacios’ Pembroke Pines home and stole Coco, a 3-year-old, 4-pound Yorkie. “They took a lot of things from the home. But the most important thing they took from us is the puppy,” said Annalisa Bonocore, a paraprofessional at Gulfstream Elementary School.

What To Do When Your Pet is Stolen

Many pet owners use a micro-chip embedded under the pet’s skin as a tracking device – the size of a large grain of rice - and these are now quite common. Here’s a link to information on this technology, and some background:

Microchips have been particularly useful in the return of lost pets. They can also assist where the ownership of an animal is in dispute. Animal shelters and animal control centers benefit using microchip identification products by more quickly and efficiently returning pets to their owners. Microchipping is becoming standard at shelters: many require all outplaced animals to receive a microchip, and provide the service as part of the adoption package. Animal-control officers are trained and equipped to scan animals. In addition to shelters and veterinarians, microchips are used by kennels, breeders, brokers, trainers, registries, rescue groups, human societies, clinics, farms, stables, animal clubs and associations, researchers, and pet stores.

Back to the Florida Report

The Budds, Palacios and Bonocores have been visiting websites like, and as well as the county animal shelters, looking for their stolen dogs with no luck. Sara Pizano, director at Miami-Dade Animal Services, and Lisa Mendheim, public education coordinator at the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, said that they are convinced the dogs were stolen so they can be sold for profit. “People have dollar signs in their eyes,” Pizano said. “They took the dogs because they think they can sell them and make money."

For pet owners, these stories are frightening to read. And of course, the best way to deter a burglar in the first place is with a monitored home alarm system. If the perps are not scared away by the loud siren, then the police will deal with them. More and more homeowners are opting for safety and security with a home alarm, and that’s where FrontPoint can help. We’re the leader in wireless home security and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you’re ready for a home alarm that’s safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, you’re ready for FrontPoint: no hidden fees, the best interactive, wireless home alarm technology at the best price, and world-class service. And you can have the peace of mind from knowing that your pets are more secure, from fire or theft.

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