Caroline Gates reported an attempted dog-napping outside a popular Morningside Heights cafe last week. The cafe asked her not to mention its name. Her story is below.

“I was sitting at cafe there was a little toy poodle tied out side. I was sitting there for about 5 minutes when a man with dark skin and baggy clothes put his hand out to the dog. I guessed it wasn’t his dog cause you just don’t do that if that was your dog. I noticed that he had very green eyes. He started to undo the knot. So I went out just to investigate, and asked the man was that his dog he said ‘yeah yeah that’s my dog.’ Then I didn’t believe him so I went into the cafĂ© and asked out loud if someone had a dog. The man had already undid the knot. A young man yelled ‘I have a dog!!!’ I told him very quickly that the man had already left with the poodle and the young man went out and got his dog and that was the end of it. Poodle owner thanked me and told me he was out of town and that was just passing by and he got me a bagel and that was the end of it.”

So consider this a public service announcement: Be careful if you leave your dog tied up outside while buying something inside a store or restaurant. There are dog-nappers out there!

Photo of a random poodle by Tanakawho.

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Welcome to NYC says:

      This is a shame but welcome to NYC. Anything not locked down will get stolen. Responsible dog owners do not tie their dogs unattended outside.

    2. Krista Kimba says:

      People..PLEASE…DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED OUTSIDE. They use these dogs for FIGHT BATE or sell it! Most likely it will be sold for fight bate training!

      IF YOU HAVE TO – Please ask anyone who looks appropriate (Scope out first – possibly another dog walker..a young lady or someone walking around who’s kid in intrigued with your dog – use your best judgement)

      Just ask! Any GOOD UWS passerby who has a minute would do it. You would be surprised who will wait 5 min with a furry friend!!!

    3. maryjane says:

      what is wrong with you people that tie their dogs outside while they go in and eat or shop, especially in the winter…humans never cease to amaze me.

    4. ScooterStan says:


      Dawg-gone!! (almost)


    5. Victoria says:

      I’m an owner to a dog and I Hate when owners leave there dog out side to grab a cup of ” coffee or shopping in the supermarkets . If you own a dog use common sense to not tie your dog outside. Would you do that to your child or any child . I wouldn’t think so . So leave your dog at home and stop trying to multi-task if u can’t take care your dog .!! I hate it so much !! I would never and I never left my dog tied outside !!!!!!!!

    6. K says:

      You have to be able to see your dog 100% of the time. I have no issue with people who tie up their dog for a few minutes in appropriate spots and watch them the entire time. But the dog can not be out of your line of sight at all. People who say “I’ve never had a problem” are outlandish — it takes only once.

    7. Stephanie says:

      poor little guy!! glad he’s okay. what’s wrong with people, that punk should have been apprehended and arrested! horrible.

    8. Gretchen says:

      How about: DON’T EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG TIED UP UNATTENDED!!! This isn’t Mayberry.

    9. nj says:

      I see many people leaving their dogs at irving farm on 79th st. I havent seen it this winter but…last winter I yelled at someone who had the nerver to keep their little black bullgog outside in the freezing, snowy, windy weather. The poor thing was shaking and when I went to tell the dog owner he said” yeah I know” and kept talking as if it didnt matter. I said to him that he did not deserve to own a living creature and that if I see it in 10 minutes I will call the police. I did check on the pooch to make sure. Thank goodness it wasnt there.

    10. beebee says:

      I watched a dog while its owner was in Whole Foods for over 30 minutes. The dog was very nervous and anxious the whole time. When the owner finally came outside I told her the dog was nervous the whole time she was inside. She was so blase about it I told her she didn’t deserve a dog. We did end up in an argument. Owners seem to believe that because the dog is so happy to see their owner return, that all must have been well. But most times the dogs are very anxious and are probably happy they weren’t abandoned or dognapped. My heart goes out to the dogs who are taken and not the human who doesn’t use their brain or have the foresight to know how terrified their pet will feel if abducted and thrown into a pitbull ring to be torn apart.

    11. Jennifer Sanders says:

      I admit… I have done this a few times.

      BUT.. I only did it when I had a SpotSafe leash (locks on both ends, only I have the key, and the leash is uncuttable)

      AND.. I only did it during chemo. I live alone and I just didn’t have the energy sometimes to do four walks a day plus go grocery shopping.

      AND, AND… I went to Barzinis so I asked the outside guy to keep an eye on him (though I can’t say they were super diligent, and in all fairness it’s not their job to watch dogs)

      AND, AND, AND… never did it in the winter.

      Still, I know it’s not smart. Even though he couldn’t be stolen, someone or another dog could still hurt him.

      But I’ll never ever forget the day a woman went ballistic on me. I was so so so exhausted (and devastated that my hair started to come out) and I just broke down on the sidewalk while she started screaming that I was a sick human being, I didn’t deserve a dog, and shame on me.

      Two other times though, nice people who I hadn’t even asked, just stayed next to him and when I came outside, totally shame faced and expecting to be berated, simply told me “You have such a nice dog! He’s so sweet!”

      And of course, that was so sweet that I broke down crying then, too. What can I say? I’m a crybaby.

      I guess I”m writing this not to make excuses, but to fess up and let folks know that sometimes screaming at folks isn’t the best way. (Sometimes it is.)

      I love my dog. But I’m human, and sometimes make mistakes.

      That’s all! Oh, and the SafeSpot Locking leash is AWESOME. Even if you’re against tying your dog up. Once I needed to help an older woman who had fallen, but my overly friendly dog scared her as he wanted to jump all over her. So I locked him to my leash.

      Of course, if that lock ever gets stuck I’m screwed…

    12. westie says:

      What is the point of mentioning the gentleman had dark skin? Certainly not enough information to identify someone.

    13. Elizabeth says:

      I have a rescued Beagle; my third rescue and I shudder at the thought of tying her up outside. I also have spoken to people who have left their dogs tied up outside and they usually get nasty. I think they must feel guilty when they are confronted. Not only can your dog be
      stolen, it could be hurt by another dog off the leash. Your dog would be a sitting duck. Just today I saw a sign on Columbus Avenue offering a large reward for a stolen dog. And the dogs get upset and are stressed out thinking you’re not coming back. It’s just NOT worth it! If I have to go to a store that won’t allow my dog then I will just have to make the extra trip.

    14. Anita says:

      I agree that you shouldn’t leave your dog unattended BUT how about some praise for the Good Samaritan who foiled that man’s plot to steal the dog. As a dog owner, I’m touched that someone else would do that and look out for the dog and the owner.