Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Animal care organizations report a quadrupling of kidnappings in recent years, buoyed by robust ransom opportunities.
Mexico has a well-documented history of kidnappings -- over 26,000 have gone missing in the last six years. And that scourge isn't limited to people.
Animal care and control organizations in Mexico report a quadrupling of dog kidnappings around the country in recent years. Ransoms for breed dogs can hit as much as seven times the market value for such pets.
Typically, criminal gangs, who mostly operate in public parks, will approach a dog owner and threaten them (gun in hand) before taking the pet. Other times, kidnappers will use dogs in heat to lure in new ones.
Mixed-breed dogs can be targets too, with criminals hoping the owners' emotional attachment will yield a modest ransom. And police, already busy investigating missing person cases, can't prioritize dog thieves. "They said it was absurd that I was trying to report the theft of a dog," one victim told the Los Angeles Times.
Below, via Reuters, scenes from Mexico City and its dogs, including the ones under the care of Mariam Luzcan, a dog advocate who drives her "canine car" around the city: