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Watch: Thieves steal beloved backyard chicken in North Vancouver

Snowflake’s owner says it is like losing a member of the family

Lindi Smith just wants Snowflake back.

The North Vancouver resident is in shock after someone broke into her backyard chicken coop and stole a beloved pet.

The entire incident was captured on surveillance cameras. Around 3:25 a.m. Saturday, two young men – both of whom have taken their shirts off to partially obscure their faces – make their way into the coop on the 300 block of East 25th Street. One of them grabs Snowflake, a former egg-laying bird rescued by Smith, and walks away, leaving Smith’s three other pet chickens behind. The suspect has his phone out throughout the video.

When Smith discovered that Snowflake was missing she went through the video footage and was shocked by what she saw.

“We couldn’t believe it,” she said. “They’re beloved family pets, and to have these boys break in and take them is just beyond words.”

Smith installed the cameras mainly to help her keep an eye on the health and habits of her small flock.

“Their safety has always been a top priority because they’re family members.… Having the cameras allows us to make sure everybody’s eating normally, acting normally through the day and the coop politics of who sits by who at night are very intense,” she said. “I’d never in 1,000 years think that I’d need them to protect them from people.”

Smith said whoever it is in the video must have known in advance that the chickens were there, as the coop is hidden from street view. That means the boys are most likely from the neighbourhood, she deduces.

Smith, who is six months pregnant, walked every street in the area to put up posters and spread the word, and she has since filed a report and turned the video over to the North Vancouver RCMP.

Smith said her biggest fear is that the boys have already killed Snowflake or that she has died inadvertently from their cruelty.

“They grabbed her by her legs. And I know that’s what they do in meat processing facilities, but it’s not humane or kind and it’s so stressful and that alone can kill a chicken,” she said.

Smith’s best theory though is that the boys targeted her pet as part of a high school grad prank, scavenger hunt or social media challenge, which has been known to happen in the past.

That, at least, opens up hope that Snowflake may be found, which is what Smith wants more than anything.

She also hopes the boys responsible understand what it is that they’ve done.

“I hope that they think that this is just a funny prank and they didn’t do this with maliciousness in their heart, or ill intention. And I understand, when you’re young, you don’t necessarily think about the impact that something like this might have on people,” she said. “I hope that they understand that our girls are loved as much as any dog or cat. And if they do have her to just please bring her home. We just want her home safe. Her flock misses her. We miss her.”

If it was indeed a grad prank, Smith said chicken thieves have an even larger obligation to think about the kinds of people they are becoming.

“They’re coming up as adults. They’re going to be part of this community that they have a social responsibility within, and who do they want to be? Do they want to be people that your community are proud to have be part of it?”

North Vancouver RCMP Const. Mansoor Sahak said investigators are treating the matter as seriously as they would if it were a stolen dog.

“It is upsetting, and we hope that they will do the right thing and return the pet to its rightful owner,” he said.

If they were to be arrested, it’s possible the suspects could face charges of theft, mischief or breaking and entering, depending on what facts the investigation yields, Sahak added.

If anyone recognizes the suspects in the video – or if they see Snowflake – they are asked to call the RCMP.

“If somebody does see a chicken that matches the description of snowflake, they can call the non-emergency line and we will help reunite Snowflake with the owner,” Sahak said.

Snowflake, the stolen chicken.

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