Stranger Than Fiction: Dognappings on the Rise, and Not Just By Psychopaths
11.07.12 by BJSprecher
As is often the case in real life, if you cross a movie mobster, chances are you're going to get whacked. Failing to pay the extra 3 points on top of the vig on the money you borrowed will do it — "Give me the f*ckin money, You hear me? You hear me, I gotta come here and you bust my balls? Give me the f*ckin money." — and so will being disrespectful — "Go home and get your f*ckin' shinebox." — but you never hear about Goodfellas-style hoods taking someone out because their favorite pooch was dognapped. However, with the economy still down in the dumps, small-time hoods have resorted to kidnapping dogs to earn some loot, so the possibility of a mobster's dog getting nabbed is on the rise. Hmm... That sounds like a great setup for a movie. Oh, wait, someone's already done it!
The Strange Truth
In times of crisis, people often turn to their pets for comfort. Even with the economy down and unemployment up, Americans are spending more and more each year on pet care products, with the American Pet Products Association estimating that pet industry expenditures will top $52 billion in 2012.
Unfortunately, small time crooks are taking advantage of the disadvantaged, swiping their beloved pets off the street and selling them over the internet, returning them for a reward, or ransoming them outright. The American Kennel Club has been recording dognappings since 2007 and reports that thefts spiked in 2011 and continue to rise, with dog thefts already up 32% over last year. Yorkies, Pomeranians, and other smaller breeds are the most common targets because of their popularity and the fact that their small size makes them easy to nab.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Dognapping is at the heart of writer-director Martin McDonagh's (In Bruges) new black comedy. The plot centers around a struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) who gets mixed up with the mob when his unemployed actor friend (Sam Rockwell) dognaps a Shih Tzu belonging to a ruthless gangster (Woody Harrelson) who will stop at nothing to get his beloved pet back. Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish and Gabourey Sidibe also star.