DALLAS - A man who has lost several dogs in his Dallas neighborhood is speaking up in hopes the city will create stiffer penalties for people taking in other people's pets.
Brad Kirby said his eight-year-old husky "Dusty" was stolen two years ago. While Kirby got her back, he said he has never found his other huskies, "Cosmo" and "Diamond."
"People steal dogs from backyards and when they get caught they just say, 'Oh, the dog was running around loose,'" Kirby said. "So, they're not getting fined with anything."
For months, he has tried to get Dallas City Council to adopt a new ordinance. It would force people to take strays animals they find to a shelter or veterinarian's office so it can be scanned for a microchip or be compared with pictures of lost dogs.
Kirby said he knows who took his huskies but said he couldn't convince cops to investigate it in time.
"The police department keeps on telling me they don't have time to rescue my dog," he said. "They're busy trying to rescue TVs instead."
The problem for police is that state law considers pets property, and unless owners can document a high value on their pet, any thief who gets caught often only gets charged with a misdemeanor.
Because of that, many are not only trying to toughen laws in Dallas, but statewide as well.
"People don't realize why would people steal animals, because they sell them and they use them a lot to train fighting dogs," said Skip Trimble, Texas Humane Legislation Network.
Trimble said investigators have found remains of house pets tied to trees after being torn apart by dogs learning to fight.
The Texas Humane Legislation Network promoted a bill in the state legislature last session that would have upgraded pet theft from a misdemeanor to a state jail felony, but the proposal died in committee.
Trimble said the proposal will be reintroduced next session.
In his attempt to help other pet owners, Kirby started a free website for missing and stolen pets called Lost Dogs of Dallas.