Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19063
Classification: Theft
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012

County: Passaic

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 3 files available

Alleged: Robert Biss

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A sweetheart of the Bloomingdale Animal Shelter - a 4-year-old pit bull named Sugar - is now feared to be in the hands of dog thieves.

"She didn't escape. She doesn't want to leave the kennel," said Ellen Ribitzki, president of the Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society (BASS).

But Sugar's friendly demeanor (she's often come to her kennel gate with a toy in her mouth) might have made her easy pickings for a thief.

BASS filed a police report after the theft, which Ribitzki believes occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"We were cleaning up," she said, which meant the cages were closed, but not all of them were locked. BASS did not have scheduled adoption hours at the time, but it is not unusual for folks to come in from time to time with questions about the animals.

On this particular morning, a man walked through the kennel on Brandt Lane and asked one of the volunteers about the procedure/policy for adopting a dog.

Once the volunteer had answered, he said, "OK" and walked back out to the parking lot where a woman was waiting in a light blue or light gray compact car with an unpainted front panel, said Ribitzki.

A few minutes later, Sugar was discovered missing, she said. Due to timing, Ribitzki said she suspects the man had something to do with Sugar's theft, but this has not been proven.

In June 2008, another pit bull, Tank, was stolen from the shelter. But Tank was returned three weeks later due to publicity surrounding his disappearance, including an article in Suburban Trends, Ribitzki believes. When found "dumped" in the area of the shelter, she said, Tank was in bad shape.

She fears that Sugar will also fall victim to bad treatment, and with the weather turning cold, she might become sick if left outdoors in temperatures her short fur is ill-equipped to withstand. On top of that, there is always the fear that pit bulls may be used in dog fighting, which is illegal but popular in urban areas like Paterson. With Sugar's sweet disposition, she said, she'd make a poor candidate for fighting.

"She's just the sweetest little dog. Everyone's sick over it," Ribitzki said.

Anyone with information on Sugar's whereabouts should call the Bloomingdale police at 973-838-0158.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
Bloomingdale police

Case Updates

Sugar, the pit bull stolen Tuesday morning from the borough animal shelter, appeared excited to be home Wednesday afternoon when she was returned to the shelter by the borough's animal control officer.

"She went right to her usual spot, circled in her bed and grabbed her bone," said Lisa Perry, the borough's animal control officer.

Meanwhile, borough police arrested Robert Biss, 24, in connection with Sugar's theft from the shelter on Tuesday morning. Detective Sgt. Steve Caputo said in a statement that Biss was charged with one count of theft of moveable property. He posted and undisclosed bail and was released.
To adopt a pet:

Anyone who wants to adopt a pet from the Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society can visit the shelter between 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 2-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The shelter seeks to match dogs and cats to appropriate homes. Prospective adopters fill out forms that ask questions about the type of home, the number of children and the number of other animals in the home. People who already own a dog are asked to bring in their pet to see if there would be a conflict between the dog to be adopted.

Dogs and cats are fully vaccinated, spayed and neutered. Fees to adopt dogs are between $160 and $250 and about $100 to adopt a cat. There is also a $25 micro-chip fee for dogs.

The shelter and the North Coast Animal League will hold an adoption event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kosco Harley Davidson on Route 23 in Kinnelon.

Sugar, a playful, 4-year-old who typically stands at the gate of her cage with a toy, was found on Tuesday after the alleged theft with the help of the Kinnelon Petco's employees.

A customer who recognized the dog from media reports called Petco to let the store know that the Sugar may have been there, said John DeJesus, the acting store manager.

Sugar has a distinctive look, said Lisa Perry, the borough animal control officer. Her coat is all white and she has a docked " or cut off -- tail.

"She's striking to look at and she has a wonderful personality," Perry said. "People would notice her."

The store's workers found the dog on the surveillance tapes and notified police. The man with Sugar came in to return merchandise and signed up for the store's member reward's program. The man provided his real name and address on the forms, DeJesus confirmed.

"So there was a quite a paper trail," the manager said.

Biss was arrested at his Macopin Road home in West Milford without incident, Caputo said.

The sergeant said Biss admitted stealing the dog because he became fond of the animal after several trips to the shelter, and he was afraid the shelter would not approve his application to adopt the dog.

Ellen Ribitzki, the president of the Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society, said the shelter workers attempt to match animals to proper homes. They want dogs to get along with the whole family and pets in the home, and they want dogs to fit where they will live.

Other than those requirements, there is little that would prevent someone from adopting a pet, Ribitzki said.

Caputo said Biss admitted that he put the dog in his car when he was given the opportunity to walk the dog on a leash.

Perry returned the dog unharmed to the shelter Wednesday afternoon.

Biss had bought a collar and tags for the dog, Perry said.

"We're so relieved and delighted that she's back home with us," Ribitzki said. "We're always relieved when a pit bull is returned because they can be used for bad purposes."
Source: - Jan 4, 2012
Update posted on Jan 26, 2012 - 10:19AM 


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