A Kingston woman has been left heartbroken after a brazen daytime break-and-enter, during which thieves stole her beloved dog, Tweetwee.
Fannie Fan relayed she was working on Friday, Apr. 21, 2023, when she received a call from her roommate asking if a friend had stopped by to walk Tweetwee, Fan’s female golden retriever.
The dog was hanging out in the roommate’s third-floor bedroom at their home on Albert Street when she whined and begged to be let out, as if she wanted or smelled food. “She’s very food driven,” said Fan. “Golden retrievers make this cute whining noise.” It was not unusual for Tweetwee to smell food if one of the roommates had some, and to try to investigate, she explained.
“My roommate opened the [bedroom] door and let Tweetwee into the hallway… It was dark,” said Fan. The roommate saw there was someone beyond, but behind, the door, but she paid little attention, thinking it was one of the people who lived with them. The person went down the stairs from the third floor to the second with the dog following behind.
Going downstairs later, however, the roommate discovered the dog was nowhere to be found and the door to the outside was open.
A friend of Fan’s does walk Tweetwee, but never as early as 9 a.m., so the roommate called Fan to check if the friend was walking the dog. As a walk for Tweetwee wasn’t planned, Fan said she went home as soon as she could; her roommates searched and canvassed the neighbourhood, even asking a nearby construction crew if they had seen the dog, with no luck.
Tweetwee is a very well-trained dog, relayed Fan, “and even if the door is left open, she will just go back inside. But if someone called her, she would go to them.”
It was at that point Fan and her roommate called Kingston Police for help. No clear suspect came from any of their conversations, and Fan said she called Kingston Police on multiple days to check on the case.
At one point, she said, she was given the message by someone at Kingston Police that they were no longer interested in following up. According to Fan, the person told her they were closing the case because there were no valuable things stolen from her house. “Because I mentioned… we have electronic devices on the first floor, and the person who came in didn’t take [those]; they just took the dog.”
However, when Kingstonist spoke by phone with Detective Jason Lachapelle on Sunday, Apr. 30, 2023, he was flummoxed as to how that message got conveyed to Fan.
“I’m not going to comment on the nature of that specific case, purely because it’s ongoing. But whether someone steals an animal or any type of other non-living property, it’s all considered theft. So I’m not sure where that would have come from.”
“If someone breaks into your house and steals a cup of tea, it’s still considered break-and-enter, and it’s still considered theft,” he explained. “The actual monetary value of property that’s taken has very little relevance to a police investigation. It’s more the act itself.”
“I personally would say that a pet being taken is more important than a television or cash,” continued Lachapelle, “and I believe most people in society agree with me — or at least those who own a pet. So, I’m not sure where [the idea that the dog was not valuable] would have come from. But I would strongly disagree with that, both as a citizen and the investigator in this case.”
Lachapelle specualted as to where the lines of communication got crossed.
“Perhaps someone was confusedly citing the Criminal Code,” he ventured. “There is a difference between theft over $5,000 and under $5,000… In a case like this, and I would just be guessing, the judge would consider that maybe there’s a value of how much you paid for a dog or how much it means. An animal definitely has a monetary value to whoever purchased it… If a citizen wanted to state that an animal was worth X number of dollars because [of the cost of vet bills, food, etc.], I would assume it would be considered [by a judge].”
“Again,” he reiterated, “I don’t know how you put a value on an animal’s life. And that would be up to the individual that’s making the complaint… the victim, who has ownership, to present that information to police.”
Lachapelle stated that the theft of Tweetwee was a “very isolated incident,” and that the case is “very much still under investigation.”
As for Fan, she just wants her dog home. “I love my dog. Please, if you have information, there is a reward.”
Fan is offering a $3,000 reward for Tweetwee’s return. Anyone with information about the theft or case is asked to contact call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.