More Disturbing News – Please Help

dog 001, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

So much for ending the week on a positive note (unless someone finds the dog.) From a reader:

“This is a tragic story and we need your help. Apparently on Tuesday night, two teenage boys stole this 92-year old man’s dog Sparky right from his front yard near 11th and Park. We all need to keep an eye out for Sparky so he can be reunited with his owner.”

From Officer Eagan:

“Sparky was stolen from his Owner in the 3200 Block of 11th Street on 04-08-09, he is wearing a Redskins collar with a purple leash. Sparky’s owner information is on a tag attached to the collar. Sparking is a poodle mix charcoal gray in color and is 5 years old. Please contact 911 or the Third District Sub Station 0n 202-576-8222 with any information. There is an undisclosed reward for his safe return. Sparky’s owner is a 92 year old man who misses him very much. Thank you for any help you may be able to provide

Officer Travis C. Eagan”

UPDATE: From MPD 3D Listserv:

I am happy to report that SPARKY is back home and in good health. A good citizen saw some children that do not own a dog playing with it. SPARKY was taken and returned. I want to thank the community for the overwhelming support for SPARKY and it’s owner.”

50 Comment

  • Here is the story on this that aired on NBC last night:

    Fingers crossed that they are reunited soon!

  • this is so sad… i want to go cuddle with my puppy now

  • It’s time for a Peace March. Thousands of DC residents seeking an end to teenage crime gather in Petworth and march to Shaw, visiting all the public housing facilities along the way, demanding action to reduce the amount of youth crime in the District of Columbia, and demanding immediate transparency and accountability from the DC Council. Yikes!

  • This is riduculously disturbing.

  • those kids raped that dog

  • This made me tear up. What is with kids these days?

  • Nothing will happen to these kids once they are caught, we know that much. So how can we as a community make the rest of their teenage years a living hell? Because this is just beyond f’d up. What is going on with our community of late? And in this case, the usual group of apologists can’t even blame it on evil white yuppie gentrifiers — this is just inexecusable evil and I wonder if people like this are even redeemable.

  • I’m so f-ing sick of these little punks. Where’s Bernie Goetz when you need him. These little punks and thugs have no regard, they don’t care if your white, black, hispanic, young, old, etc…

  • nothing will happen to the kids…but why can’t we start punishing the parents (although that may be wishful thinking to assume they are anywhere around). Seriously, stealing a dog from a 92 year old man indicate future sociopathic behavior to me. God I would love to lock up every fucking parent of these hood rats.

  • I would bet that from Petworth to Shaw, there are about 50 teenagers and young adults who are primarily responsible for about 90 percent of the bullshit. Moreover, I bet that the MPD has previously arrested or could otherwise identify about 47 of those kids. I know it’s a potentially expensive proposition, but couldn’t we dedicate some police on patrol to just knock on these kids’ doors or otherwise attempt to confirm their location about once an hour on the hour? Didn’t Boston and Dublin have programs like that?

  • I’ve been down on DC lately. I don’t know if it’s because more and more blogs are reporting on the bad things – or crime alerts are much more frequent through emails Crime is up, people don’t care, housing is expensive, you can’t school kids, awful government, blah blah blah. I’ve lived here for pretty much all my life, and haven’t been more compelled to move than I have been these last couple months. At least when DC was crap, you knew it was crap. Now, everyone is smiley faces and luxury condo building and Obama – but it’s kind of still crap under the surface.

  • What do you expect when the affluent refuse to do anything but warehouse or vilify the economically disadvantaged ? The teens are acting out. It’s completely abhorrent and disgusting, but not surprising at all. They probably sold the dog for a tidy sum to a rich couple who can’t conceive dogs on their own.

  • Yeah, I agree, Tony. I’ve been MIA on this board recently because it seems like just a collection of stuff that makes me want to move — that’s not PoP’s fault. That’s just the way I’ve been feeling.

  • The kids who perpetrated such a depraved, heartless act are beyond redemption or rehabilitation, if you ask me. We really need to reform the juvenile crime laws in this town, and take the streets back from the too-young criminals who run amok without consequence.

  • This man is so friendly and always smiling… is there anything we as neighbors can do to cheer him up or help in canvassing the area? Something in connection with the dog park clean-up planned for tomorrow? Let’s start talking about how to turn this situation around.

  • Great thought, anonymous. I really, really, really hope he gets his dog back, and while obviously you can’t replace an animal like that, perhaps we could all pitch in to buy him a new dog of similar breed if the dog is not recovered?

  • Most likely this dog was stolen by a crackhead, traded to a drug boy for some rock, then made to ‘fight’ [read: fed to] his pitbull for entertainment. Sick, sick sh*t, but wouldn’t be the first time a small fluffy dog disappeared around here like this.

  • What hell is wrong with you Anon @11:50? I am so sick of these apologists. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

  • i actually met a self proclaimed “ex” crackhead once at the bus stop at georgia and irving. we were talking and a car of men drove by and yelled out the window at him about dogs. he then showed me some nasty scars and said a year or so ago he needed some crack, and the neighborhood boys told him they’d give him some if he jumped into the yard with their pitbulls and rotweilers and tried to fight the dogs. He apparently got all tore up. Not sure if he got the crack.

    There are some sick fucks living amongst us, some of them are our neighbors. Seriously.

  • I like the idea of a massive march in CH against crime. I would participate.

  • You do realize the criminals will laugh very hard at you as you march against crime.

  • Maybe my sarcasm meter is off, but I don’t read Anon 11:50 as being totally serious.

  • You people make me laugh with your wine bars and third world crime…

  • Well said tonysmallframe, I think the facade of normalcy is what does the most damage to DC. This week DC Council has focused on gay marriage, yanking Fenty’s tale re: subpoenas, and the school budget. While the latter is legit, I hardly think the other two are priorities from my perspective (nothing against marriage and gays and such). Fenty for his part has expressed his outrage that black churches were defrauded and launched a probe, and raced to some ribbon cuttings. Where is the sense of priorities and urgency?

  • “Where is the sense of priorities and urgency?”

    Completely agree. If the Mayor, his family or any Council Members or their loved ones were harassed, attacked, robbed, sexually assaulted, injured or killed on the streets, they would be shocked and outraged. They seem either incapable of, or willfully feeling the pain and desperation of the victimized which makes them a lot like the criminals themselves.

  • Somewhere recently I saw a post “where is batman and robin when you need them.” I see a great photo now, someone dressed all in black, with ski mask, bullet proof vest, a police escort, and a large camera with a telephoto lens. Time to develop a stealth photo montage of the punks taking over the quiet streets of the City.

    Or, perhaps one police officer (or undercover private eye) devoted to each of the 47-50 known youth offenders in CH. Follow them when they leave the house, follow them as they run around in packs, let them know they are being directly monitored morning til night. Or perhaps a series of high res digital stealth cameras with infrared. Feeasible? Worth it? Probably not.

    How about a Citywide Challenge — let’s see if we can find the baddest toughest young punk in DC. Have a series of challenges and a grand prize trip to Somalia so they can see what tough is really all about.

    Evil white yuppie gentrifiers ? WOW what a cool term, albeit filled with racist hate. I guess that would explain why young black teenagers are running around the city in gangs beating up lone white women/men and leaving them for dead (don’t think this isn’t happening, it is). Suckee suckee suckeeee…..

  • If the Mayor, his family or any Council Members or their loved ones were harassed, attacked, robbed, sexually assaulted, injured or killed on the streets, they would be shocked and outraged.

    Tangerhilini (city administrator) was robbed in Takoma a while back.

  • Nate: Dan Tangerlini was robbed when he was a lowly member of the school board. After he became DDOT director and raised his pay he moved to a nicer area.

    All in black: I’d guess that 95% of crime victims in the city are black. That’s what amusing (in a horrid way), portions of the local black community says whites deserve the violence they experience. However, the overwhelming majority of victims are black. (this is an estimate, no real proof to back it up as such data are not available for the city)

  • FYI, received the below, note that Fenty will be there. Might be a good chance to mess with him somehow.

    Concerned Neighbors, Inc. (CNI) is holding its monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 15th, 7:00 to 8:45 pm at the Juanita Thornton Shepherd Park Library, 7420 Georgia Ave., NW. Our Very Special Guest will be Mayor Adrian Fenty. All are welcome to attend.

    Shirley Richardson
    Concerned Neighbors, Inc.
    A North Takoma Community Association

  • Why would Fenty show concern for the violence when the people affected it by it most are not complaining? What’s in it for him? Seriously. If I were a black mayor, the last thing I woul dtouch is the hot button issue of black on black crime. We, black people, are near immune to it.

    There was a killing in SE last night. We get muggings, shootings, and robberies in NW, SE gets murders. Yet, those people never make a fuss about it. So why should anyone else?

  • Fenty / Graham will also be at an NWCHCA meeting April 20. The crime situation in C.H. is out of control of late and hopefully lots of folks will show up to demand more of a law enforement presence and more aggressive policing in the area.

  • I find it interesting that people get so outraged at the theft of a dog (rightfully so) and take up collections and what have you, but have you ever seen anyone try to get a collection going for the families of the kids that are shot dead in the gang violence? Or any interest at all in doing things that might actually save some of these kids from becoming gang members or garden variety delinquents? Not really. So much love for an old man and his dog, but no love for the people that really, really, really, really need some love. People that are dying way too young.

  • Aside from making it a police state, politicians can do little to stop violent crime in a community with so vast a socioeconomic divide as Columbia Heights. In the short term, to minimize your individual chance of becoming a victim, avoid being alone, outside, at night. Or, you could (illegally) arm yourself — but that’s a whole other can of worms.

    Sad story about the dog.

  • Anon 5:15, there are numerous discussions on exactly what you mention from earlier this week, last week, etc etc etc. Take a stroll before the postings before you make an ignorant statement. This particular event follows a particularly violent uptick in recent weeks, which we’ve discussed repeatedly (almost ad nauseum, I’m sure many would say). For my part, I am more concerned about the old guy than his dog, which I am sure was fed to pit bulls rather quickly. As for mentoring and “loving” young people, that is discussed frequently in the previous posts (mentoring more than loving, which sounds weird to me). Many people do mentor, I for one was asked not to mentor several years ago as I am white. Also, mentoring has its role, but the juvenile violence in DC is indicative of a systemic problem reflecting the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and the overall law enforcement regime in DC, so all mentoring and volunteering is moot in the long run. Same goes for adult offenders, in my opinion.

    But, I hope you feel better anonymously attacking people, which is one role blogs can play.

  • Anon at 5:15, lots of reasons for this. This is a single, discrete event, with a clear good guy and bad guy, and with a clear potential solution. Ask what can “save” these kids from becoming delinquents, and no one has a single great answer — some say it is punish the parents, some say more community centers, some say longer school years, some say removing them from the home entirely and sending to boarding school, some say lock em up with harsher deterance, some say it is truly hopeless. Believe me, if folks had some consensus on what could be done, or even IF anything can be done, many would be totally on board. And moreover, for those of us who have been victimized repeatedly by teenage delinquents, it is understandably hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for spending our limited charitable time and money resources on helping people who would sooner spit on us or throw a rock at us than even want our help. Personally, I’d rather help disabled kids or neglected elderly folks or others more interested in my help who will actually appreciate it –like the victim here, who is truly an innocent victim, who hurt no one, and the solution is pretty discrete and obvious — try to find the dog, and if we can’t, try to find a replacement. Heck, it isn’t even obvious that “helping” these gangs members would be doing them a service. The gov’t mentality of helping the poor, which started in good faith, has led to a sub-set of society that only understands dependance and is uninterested in anything that does not involve leaching off of others.

  • but have you ever seen anyone try to get a collection going for the families of the kids that are shot dead in the gang violence

    Where have you NOT seen this? New to the neighborhood? Just lying to yourself to feel smug?

    My neighbors house caught on fire because their cousin fell asleep smoking a joint and they went around asking for money.

    Their cousin, a drug dealer, got shot and they asked around to get memorial t-shirts printed up. Just didn’t ask me.

  • the number one question to ask yourself, as someone who used to be “in the moment” in these situations before getting the hell out.

    What do you think that an undereducated, poor and very very angry African-American mother and father would say to a young, graduate school educated, and wealthy-in-their-eyes yuppie gentrifier who wanted to change the personality of their children to make it more in-line with “white society?”

    In April 2008 I was almost assaulted by a woman in a DC government building while I was talking about a charity drive I was volunteering for to help with children who lost everything in the Mt Pleasant Deauville fire. She went bananas on me, screaming and ranting about “the man” helping people who lost their homes in the fire but not helping her. Another big issue is that she had was that we were donating older children’s items instead of giving them cash. The people who I was with, who generally looked like her, told me that the real underclass have suffered so much that they will never want to be like white society even when “whiteness” represents something like collecting non-monetary donations.

    So… here is my theory. We have to accept that there are people, like the kids who raped the dog and fed it to pit bulls. We have to accept that they don’t like racism and are justifying the existence of unfairness in one sector to behave inhumanely in a multitude of areas. If you rape a dog, chances are, you’ve raped before.

    Their opinions, attitudes, thoughts, and wishes are meaningless to me. I used to work with the US military and knew some drill sergeants. They talked about literally breaking and reprogramming these gang bangers. There were kids who ended up choosing the military over getting sent to jail who had almost no pro-social ideas in their heads. Kids who never really “got” society until they’d been in the Army for 6 months or a year. We’re talking about people with no moral backbone AT ALL. No sense of right and wrong in any advanced sense who would end up with demerits or in military jail every week. But with the constant brainwashing and reprogramming.

    I have a reasonably good female friend in her 40s who skipped school and followed this really hot guy in Detroit to where he worked- a Marine Corps recruiting center. She signed up to get the hell out of the Detroit projects. She got her act together and is our CEO’s assistant, raising her kids with extreme military-style regimentation.

    Similarly, in a church that I occasionally work with I met lets say 80% concerned parents and 20% parents who literally didn’t want a white person telling them anything. Literally I was in a meeting where a woman in charge told us, “You may have some big job title, but when you walk through this room, you mean nothing to me.” We all stared in disbelief, but she REALLY didn’t understand what she was saying to us and was looking to remove us from this project by making us feel bad- she replaced people with her friends and embezzled a few hundred dollars before she got kicked out. It’s important to recognize that there are people with some power in their world who actively want to denigrate educated people because they want an angle.

    I do not trust, for instance, Peaceaholics and related organizations.

    People in awful situations absolutely can and will change. However what I would consider to be helpful, like volunteering with poor kids, might not be appreciated by 100% of the people involved.

    Which is to say that, in my opinion:
    1. We as a neighbor should not be expected to actually try to help everyone because there are some people who look at that as cultural imperialism. Help who you feel like you want to.
    2. You should NEVER feel bad about calling the police on criminals or criminal-acting teens.
    3. Don’t be so naive. Kids hanging out on corners are NOT normal teenagers in DC. The normal teens I know play guitar hero indoors, skateboard, play on actual basketball teams with uniforms, got to church and more often than not are seen with their parents, their parents have introduced them to me, I’ve seen the parents discipline the kids, I’ve paid one of the kids to wash my car, and in general, I feel safe around them. There are other kids, now young adults, who have been trouble since I first saw them before I ever moved onto the block. Kids who are hanging out in packs on the sidewalk and on corners are up to something. In your neighborhood that could be drug dealing, but in others it could be gang banging and related crew or gang behavior. I promise you, though, that on my block none of the good kids hang out on the corner or sidewalk and none of the working men and women do either. This is not some mysterious part of DC culture that you don’t know- the people on the sidewalk are involved in street crime (or immigrants looking for work).

  • 4. We should not be afraid to stop some people from doing bad things even if we can’t stop all people from doing bad things. If you aren’t educated to know enough about herd immunity, please educate yourself. We don’t need to stop all drug dealers, just stop enough drug dealers so that the violence problem subsides. There are drug dealers in every county surrounding DC, but only DC has the issue it has. We probably could reach serious, real success in getting only 20% of the people involved in the drug and violence trade out of the business or maybe just get 1 in 3 drug customers out of the business.
    5. Kids must see you doing good things in life, like cleaning the neighborhood, marching against violence and going to work every day. the must, very importantly, also see you being happy. Invite kids to help you clean up on earth day and make fun of kids to their face when they don’t help. I found, as a parent, that when I mock kids who are doing antisocial things then they stop. when I ask them to stop, they mock me. Remember that you are the righteous and by stopping the bullies, you might save some girl from getting raped. Remember, if you don’t stop these kids, that girl will get raped.

  • Giving up on those kids is the worst thing possible. They turn out the way they do in large part because they know they’ve been given up on. There is some truth in that long ass post, but the sentiments that these kids are just animals or a lost cause are reprehensible.

  • According to the 3D listserv, Sparky has been found and returned to his owner. I know this thread got heavy, but I hope this serves as a happy coda to the story.

  • This is some hard hitting local news going on here.

  • A happy ending

  • I was at home with family when I read the news and just about got teary {& had to give the cliff notes version to those not following this story}

    Sometimes there is a happy ending.

  • I’m so glad to hear about the happy ending. Sparky looks like a better groomed version of my pooch (and well… we’re Ravens fans). I have heard a lot about smaller dogs being stolen out of yards, and it is definitely something I worry about.

    @11:51 am – I’m sure it’s easy enough for you to make fun of this story, especially now that it has a happy ending and it turned out that it was just a story of a pup wandering off. But stealing dogs for bait for dog fighting is actually a fairly serious issue in DC and dog fighting is a symptom of the larger problems that exist in the city.

  • I talked to the guys on the corner about this and they said, I’m paraphrasing, “that sh*t was on TV. Those guys had to get rid of that dog. He was an old man!? You don’t do that to an old man.”

    so the word on the street, the rumor anyway, was that kids took the dog and dropped the dog. Can’t confirm or deny that, so decide what makes more sense to you:
    1. kids steal dog for Easter or dogfighting, get scared and drop the dog
    2. dog runs away

  • I am glad there was a happy ending to this story.

    One thing I have not seen in the comments is: never leave your dog unattended. Even if it is in a fenced yard.

  • A chum of mine says a local resident of the housing complex the boys lived in say them playing with a dog, knew they didn’t have a dog, read the story, and made the call. So, they were ID’d by a concerned neighbor, the boys didn’t just let the dog go or return him on a sense of honor.

    My moral dilemma for the day: should the boys be punished, or should local neighbors volunteer to take them along on dog walks, playtime, etc? I mean, what boy doesn’t want a dog, and are these boys monsters for snatching one? Maybe they told themselves it was lost or some such. I was a dumb and lying boy myself.

    (I ain’t local to the boys so I cannot let them hang with my beast)

  • @Pennywise, while I see what you’re saying, just because you want something you don’t have doesn’t mean you can take someone else’s. That’s not how the world works. So while the second idea you have there is noble, it’s simply rewarding and perpetuating bad behavior if it’s not accompanied by punishment.

  • I dig ya Nichole, that’s generally how I feel. Still, between dogs and boys there must be some grey area, no? Perhaps the dog took a step after them, and they decided it must want to go home with them? Perfectly reasonable in a kids mind. Had they mugged the old guy for his dog, that’d be a another issue entirely.

  • @Pennywise, I know what you’re saying. They still need to be punished. Cleaning up cages at NY Ave. maybe? I don’t know. And that’s only assuming they just wanted to play with the pup and not abuse it or feed it to someone’s pit bull. I guess it sounds cynical that I have a hard time believing these were just little boys wanting to play with someone’s dog, and took it a little too far. Stealing is wrong, even if the thing you want to steal is cute and could perhaps help you become a better functioning member of society. Hell, I think Sparky’s a cutie and if I saw him wandering the street, I’d be tempted to keep him too. But the difference is my parents would have beat my ass for not doing the right thing and trying to find his owner, so the first thing I’d do now is just that.

    They have to learn that stealing is wrong, no matter what form it comes in. Kids are too young for “grey.” You can’t learn “grey” if you don’t know black and white first, and no matter how you slice it, this is pretty clear cut.

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