One of two small dogs that disappeared during a burglary remains missing

Police believe Spice, a five-pound black-and-white poodle mix, was taken during a burglary in Del Rey Photo courtesy of Sue Downing

Police believe Spice, a five-pound black-and-white poodle mix, was taken during a burglary in Del Rey
Photo courtesy of Sue Downing


By Gary Walker

LAPD detectives are investigating the disappearance of two dogs — one of them returned last Saturday under mysterious circumstances — during a home burglary in Del Rey.

Penny, a 13-year-old Pomeranian given medication for a heart condition, and 3-year-old Spice, a five-pound black-and-white poodle mix, were reported missing after a Nov. 21 break-in on the 11900 block of Weir Street.

Homeowner Sue Downing, a veterinary oncologist, said she returned home to find that someone had rifled through her belongings and left the back door of the house and a fence gate open.

Though Penny and Spice were gone, Downing said she found her other dog, also a Pomeranian, safe inside and that nothing else appeared to be missing.

“I’m not really sure if [Penny and Spice] were taken or they walked out because the door and the gate were open, but they’re not the kind of dogs that would run off. It makes no sense to me,” said Downing, who works at a Westside animal clinic.

Spice “walks oddly” due to an injured back leg and likely wouldn’t be able to travel far, she said.

Downing, who has blanketed the area with flyers offering cash rewards for the dogs’ safe return, was reunited with Penny last Saturday but not Spice. She said the man who returned Penny told her he had seen a picture of Penny on a KTLA Channel 5 news broadcast and had recalled seeing the dog with a man in Santa Monica earlier that day.

“He bought Penny from the man in Santa Monica and contacted me,” Downing said.

Downing said the Good Samaritan told her he had no idea how Penny had arrived in Santa Monica or how the man had obtained her.

“She’s a little tired but she seems fine,” Downing said about Penny.

Police are currently seeking leads to the whereabouts of Spice, said LAPD Pacific Division Det. Robin Salazar, a burglary investigation supervisor.

“We’re working on getting video [of the burglary]. It looks right now like the dogs were taken as part of the burglary,” Salazar said. “We’re still investigating and working on developing leads.”

Getting Penny back has lifted Downing’s spirits and those of friends helping in the search for Spice.

“We haven’t had any leads about where Spice might be, but we’ve all been rejuvenated since Penny’s been back. This gives me hope that Spice will come home too,” she said.

Salazar said dognapping was not a common occurrence in communities that the LAPD’s Pacific Division serves, which include Del Rey, Mar Vista, Westchester and Venice.

Savvy, a 10-year-old Sheltie that was taken from a Culver City home during a Nov. 7 burglary, was returned the next day by a person who bought the dog prior to seeing a news report about its disappearance, according a report by KCAL 9.

Downing asks that anyone with information about Spice call (310) 766-0491. Police are asking those with information about the burglary to call detectives at (310) 482-6313.