Man's Best Friend Victim of PA Teen Terror
A story by Kathy Matheson in today's edition of the Boston Herald caught my attention today: Teen faces extort rap over mutt. (Available online here.)
Edna, a ten-year-old beagle mix belonging to Bill Whiting of Philadelphia, PA, vanished during a Halloween walk. Whiting received a late-night phone call from kids demanding $600 for the safe return of the dog. A dog collar was jangled over the line, and in the background a dog yelped. Whiting didn't recognize the yelp, but the jangle of the collar sounded familiar.
"You don't understand, Mister. I want to kill your dog anyway."
That's what the kid allegedly said. Sick, twisted little twerp.
Police spent weeks tracing the calls, and arrested the 15 year old on December 30. They have not found the dog, who loved children and also worked as a nursing home therapy dog, but there is little hope of finding her alive. From the online version of the article, linked above:
Whiting went to a police station in the middle of the night to make a report. When he returned home a few hours later, his land line rang almost immediately. "We killed your dog," the voice said. "It's dead."
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The story resonates with me on several levels, but the two key items are the following facts:
- The dog has been the man's constant companion for over ten years. This reminds me of Missy, my Malamute who passed away almost two years ago now.
Missy was my constant companion, often going to client offices and travelling with me cross-country.
Even tho Missy wasn't my only dog, she was my best and fuzziest friend -- and a member of the family who took her responsibilities toward people very seriously.
Reading of Edna's abduction and the length of time that has passed since, I am angered at the perpetrators and sympathetic to both Mr. Whiting and Edna.
- The dog worked as a nursing home therapy dog. This reminds me of Mumsie, who passed away shortly before Christmas.
Both of our dogs at the time of Missy's passing had visited nursing home residents; sometimes, during the period where both Missy and Mumsie were still ambulatory, Mumsie would take command of Missy and take her around to the people, proudly relating what kind of dog she was and having her "talk" to the residents. It was heartwarming to watch.
Our newest dog, Jack, has a long way to go before (if) he'll be able to do any such work.
It's too bad for the residents -- they loved and adored the animal visits, and that makes me angry about Edna's abduction.
What kind of world have we wrought for ourselves, and what kind of lessons have we taught our children?
If anyone reading this has any information that could help the police find the dog or determine what happened to her, please let us know in comments. I'll pass it along to the Philadelphia police or contact Kathy Matheson via the Pennsylvania bureau chief. I'd like to help Bill put his mind to rest, one way or the other.