So, if anything, the takeaway from this incident -- other than bizarre questions relating to the Gaffney family reaching out to a "pet tracker" and even a "pet psychic" -- is this: If you own a dog sweet enough to walk away with a stranger, a stranger may walk away with it. So take precautions.
What's more, there seems to be little reason for a dog owner to risk theft by tying up an animal outside of a supermarket. Walking a dog into a supermarket is hardly an outlandish occurence here in the city. Even dogs later deemed "vicious and dangerous" animals by the city have been walked into the very Safeway JoJo was stolen from.
It may not be strictly "legal," but, then, neither is "theft." Unless, of course, it's not "theft" ...
Update, 4:45 p.m.: Lieutenant Le-Ellis Brown of San Francisco Animal Control returned our call. He says there have been more dog thefts reported to Animal Control in the last month -- but this is no crime wave. "In the last month, I'd say three. Generally, we hear about none to one," he says. Stealing dogs, he says, "is not the hot new thing."
Brown said he believes that taking someone else's dog from a public place would constitute theft -- unless, of course, an Animal Control officer or cop did it (Of course, determining what "theft" is isn't Animal Control's responsibility, either). On the other hand, he adds, not only is tying your dog up and leaving it unattended a bad idea, it's also against the law.