Oregon Humane Society staff stop man from stealing puppy, police say

PORTLAND, Ore. - A man had almost made it out the door of the Oregon Humane Society with a stolen puppy tucked in his jacket when an employee stopped him, police and an OHS spokeswoman said.

Brent Klausner, 36, managed to break a lock on a puppy cage on January 14 and grab Burkhead, a 3-month-old terrier mix, according to OHS spokeswoman Barbara Baugnon.

She said Klausner stuffed the puppy into his jacket and tried to walk out, but an alert client saw what was going on and alerted a staff member.

As Klausner walked out of the building, the staff member stopped him.

"Our staff stopped this guy and said 'is that a puppy in your jacket?'" Baugnon said. "She asked if he was stealing it and he said 'yes.'"

The staff member got Burkhead back and Klausner left the building. An OHS employee kept an eye on him as a supervisor called 9-1-1.

Officers caught up with Klausner a few blocks away, but did not immediately arrest him, according to police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson. Instead, they took his information and consulted with prosecutors.

Ultimately prosecutors decided to press charges and Klausner was arrested on Thursday. He faces attempted theft and criminal mischief charges, and was taken to the Multnomah County Jail.

While Baugnon said dog theft is rare at the humane society, this is the second case in recent months. In December, somebody stole a puppy that was about to be adopted out. After much media coverage of that case, police in Gresham got an anonymous tip and recovered the dog.

In the wake of that theft the humane society decided to increase security to prevent members of the public from easily accessing employee-only areas, including installing key card locks on several doors.

"It's a shame," Baugnon said. "It's expensive."

She did point out that in both cases the puppy thieves were caught.

"I hope the takeaway is if you try to steal an animal you're going to get caught."