Defining the worst human beings on planet Earth just added a new subcategory: violent dog-nappers. News today that the French Bulldogs belonging to Lady Gaga were returned, the news story reports, by a lady good Samaritan who found them abandoned. But the gentle soul who was shot by the thieves a couple days earlier, probably never suspected his life might have been stolen from him just walking dogs. I imagine the thieves were probably fearful that their ne’er-do-well associates might take it upon themselves to collect that $500,000 reward. With millions of eyes in Southern California on the lookout for these brazen thieves, I am glad they decided not to harm the dogs. While theft of prized dog breeds is on the decline, it is still fairly widespread. One story says the AKC compiled nearly five hundred reports of stolen dogs in the United States in 2019. With the pandemic, 2020 statistics will likely skew the trend. Only two months into 2021, shooting a dog-walker takes crime up significantly. It was the walker being shot, as much as whose dogs they were, that likely mobilized review of traffic cams, home security cameras, and law enforcement patrols to look for these predators.. Whether crime involving pets are on the decline, or whether investigations and prosecutions are declining instead, dog- and pet-people must keep pressure on state legislatures, law enforcement, and the courts to prosecute offenders. Animal cruelty is a felony in all 50 states. Animal welfare groups have kept up pressure on puppy mills, dog breeder scams, and dog fighting rings. And dog-walkers are now going to be far more vigilant. However, all this talk of dog-napping is going unnoticed by Dexter and by Comet. Snoozing away by the living room couch, only the sound of someone going to the kitchen rouses these highly prized pooches.