If your child got lost today, there is no way that you would mistake him/her for another person’s child; even identical twins do not look 100% alike. Therefore when a woman on a quest to find her missing dog is charged with stealing someone else’s, you have to wonder how well she knew her canine. All the same, there have been numerous cases of mix-ups -even shelters sometimes give up puppies that already have owners when they find them roaming in the streets. Below is the story of how one woman prefers to go to jail instead of giving up a dog to its rightful owner.
Case of mistaken identity
On December 1, 2019, two snowmobilers, Kat and her boyfriend, noticed a dog with three puppies stranded in the snowy mountains around the Pineview Reservoir. They, therefore, called for help, and as the rescue team carried the puppies on a sled down the mountain, their mother ran away, and since then, the dog whose owner Rovira, said is called Grace, went missing. Rovira determined to find the lost dog used Facebook to alert people so they could inform her when they spotted her.
Her social media post helped because two people said that on May 23, 2020, they had seen a malnourished dog that resembled Grace in a field. So Rovira asked them to take her to the place, but Grace was nowhere to be found. Rovira did not give up in her search, and the next day she and her friend went back to the field. They found a sheepherder, showed him a picture of Grace, and asked him to take them to the dog. In a strange twist of fate, Lane Jensen, the owner of the field and sheep had taken his dog out in the field to help watch over the sheep. Therefore when the sheepherder who barely spoke English was shown the picture, he took the two women to Lane’s dog, Fergie.
Rovira is now facing theft charges
The shepherd went back to check on the sheep leaving the two women alone with the dog, and when he came back to where he had left them, the dog and the women were gone. All he saw was $400 tucked in a backpack, hanging on a tree. However, while Rovira said that she did everything she thought was legal by paying the man she believed was the owner of the dog, the sheepherder had a different story to tell. According to KSL.com, the sheepherder said he could not dare sell an animal her did not own yet Rovira revealed that he had asked them to return on May 26, 2020, to complete the transaction.
Rovira dared Lane Jensen to file charges and prove ownership of the dog. While she firmly believed that Fergie was Grace even using the fact the dog she found had a brown collar similar to Grace’s, Kat, who had also seen Grace in the snowy mountains, begged to differ. According to her, the dog she saw on the mountain and the one that Rovira found were very different. Kat said that Grace was too heavy to be lifted and carried on the shoulders. Besides, Grace’s head was much bigger, and she was shorter than the dog in the picture, Fergie.
Lane, on the other hand, only found out about Fergie’s whereabouts when he saw a picture of Fergie on Rovira’s Facebook post. He tried contacting Rovira to return his dog, but Rovira was not interested in engaging with him. Lane reported her to the authorities who cautioned Rovira that if she failed to return the canine, she would be depriving Lane of his property and hiding the stole property. Although the police added that Fergie was valued at $1,500 according to Lane, Rovira said she had spent even more by paying $400 to the sheepherder and medical expenses that amounted to $2,000. Consequently, the woman has been quoted saying that she would rather go to jail than give up the dog. However, she insisted that “Grace” is safe.
The lengths people go to, to steal your dog
Unlike Rovira, who seems convinced that the dog she found is hers, other dog thieves do not care about the distress that a pet or pet owner undergoes due to this criminal act. WISN Channel 12 reported how Brooklyn, an 18-year-old stole an Alaskan Malamute worth $4000 and dyed its fur to disguise him so that whenever she flaunted him on social media, no one would recognize him. Unfortunately, the dye she used on the dog left it permanently disabled with kidney disease that would cost the pet owner $300 every month for the rest of the canine’s life. Ironically, Brooklyn said that she only took the dog because it was left in the cold and wanted to give it a better life.
Another woman, Melody, took advantage of a man having a seizure to steal his therapy dog. When Robert Corbey suffered a seizure at a convenience store, Melody took it as a cue to take his pet away from him. As paramedics did their best to save Robert’s life, Melody fled with Sampson, and the next day Jeff Satur, the Deputy Police Chief of Longmont, saw Sampson with another couple. He recognized him straight away and the couple and that they had been given the dog by a woman whom police discovered to be Melody. Luckily for Sampson, he finally was reunited with his family, who were happy to have a piece of Robert with them since the seizure attack was fatal.
Keeping your pet safe from thieves
Pets are part of the family, and they should be treated as such. Therefore, since just like children, they cannot take care of themselves, it is up to you to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. If you have to go with them in public, never leave them unattended; even a locked car can still have its windows smashed, and if you have the habit of tying your dog to a pole as you get your coffee, it is time you stopped. Also, secure your compound by taking measures such as keeping the gates to your backyard locked.
However, sometimes, no matter how well we protect them, a dog can still find itself a victim of thieves; therefore, microchipping can guarantee that you will find them. In the UK, the law stipulates that by the time a puppy is eight weeks old, it must be microchipped. A collar that has your dog’s name and your contact information can prove useful- if Rovira and Jensen had used this, then the dispute would have long been resolved since now all Rovira is relying on is the color of the collar.
Photo via Greg Anderson, Deseret News