No, this is not a Disney movie about a herd of adorable animals who scheme up a shelter-break and roam the adorable streets of Silver Lake.
Nope. This is some fishy corrupt-city-worker business, according to today's Los Angeles Times, which compares the mysterious vanishing of 64 "dogs, cats and other animals" from the city's six animal shelters over the last year -- and 39 from the North Central Shelter alone -- to recent city-department scandals like bribery within the Department of Building and Safety and a traffic-officer-made porn. (Really.)
If the missing critters (aww) were your average lot of mangy old mutts, that'd be one thing. But Brenda Barnette, general manager of the Animal Services Department, has noticed a pattern in the type of pets who tend to disappear:
"They were the young ones, the cute ones," Barnette said. "They were ones that would have been likely to have been sold or be a nice gift for someone." The majority of the unaccounted-for animals were dogs, Barnette said.
What's being implied here, obviously, is that shelter workers might be selling the cutest of the caged beasts on the cute-beast black market for cash.
Not quite as terrible as accepting bribes for sketchy building approvals or paying some streetwalkers to let you spank them over the hood of your cop car. (Especially since Angelenos willing to pay top dollar for their housepets are probably those most likely to pamper the things to death, Paris Hilton purse style. Not too shabby a fate for a street orphan.)
But the vanishing-puppy scandal is being taken as seriously as the worst of them:
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The Associated Press reports that "investigators with the city's police and personnel departments began probing the disappearances in April. Since then, the animal services agency has added new locks at the Lincoln Heights shelter and changed some of the personnel assigned there."
Have you seen these pups? Or perhaps you payed big bucks to a man in a "City of L.A." uniform for a doe-eyed pit bull terrier with a mad case of the fleas? Call Animal Services today: (323) 276-5845.
And in the future, save yourself some cash and corruption charges and just adopt straight from the shelter. Quick -- before city workers steal all the best ones.