Dognapping in Columbia Heights

A frantic woman stopped me on the street yesterday to ask about her dog that had been playing in her back yard on 11th street. She let the cocker spaniel play in the fenced back yard and someone broke the lock and took the dog.

We had a dog that was stolen out of our backyard, too. It was about five years ago. We had only had him for a few days when he had been taken.

It was devastating.

You'd like to think that life in Columbia Heights isn't as rough as it used to be. Certainly it looks better: no teenage drug dealers standing on every corner, all night long; the trash men actually pick up the trash; fewer abandoned buildings; no empty lots filled with trash and broken glass. When construction on the GIant grocery store started, that entire block was one field of tall grass. Upon cutting that grass, the builders discovered a man living in a hut in the middle of what would become the parking garage for the Giant. Ahh, those were the days. People used to slide under the broken chain link fences with their dogs to have them run around and catch balls.

But outward appearances are misleading. We feel so much better now that we can go to a decent grocery store and furnish our homes within a few blocks of where we live. Restaurants are here now. They didn't use to be.

It's so easy to be fooled.

This is still an urban, changing, neighborhood. And the old crime is still here. Like stealing people's dogs out of their backyards and selling them to people on the street. Or worse.

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