WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — West Hollywood’s new dog is conspicuous: fluorescent pink, weighing as much as a grown man, wearing sneakers on its paws and a water bottle strapped to its back.
But for two weeks, the nameless dog — a statue that was installed along Santa Monica Boulevard — has been missing. It was stolen after the city’s annual gay-pride parade June 9. The theft seems impossible not to notice, with people moving a bright-pink dog from the middle of a bustling city boulevard in the middle of the night.
Yet the Sheriff’s Department, notwithstanding its reputation for being fairly effective when it comes to fighting crime, has turned up no leads and no suspects in the case. There has not even been a reported sighting of the missing hound.
“I would say, ‘How can you miss it?’ ” said John Duran, a West Hollywood city councilman. “It’s 200 pounds, pink and wearing tennis shoes.”
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He paused and considered what this city, famous for its gay nightlife, looks like on most weekends, particularly during the gay-pride celebration. “But that would be consistent with what you might see on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood,” he added.
At first, the case of the missing pink dog appeared to have all the hallmarks of a drunken college prank or the antics of a West Hollywood denizen who, after a few drinks, thought it would make a particularly distinctive feature for his or her pool.
If the dog was returned unharmed, city officials promised to ask no questions.
As days have dragged into weeks, however, no one has stepped forward, and the missing dog has become a bit of an embarrassment. Its stand remains empty, beside four other red and pink dog statues, an irritating reminder of the crime every time a deputy’s car drives by.
“We have no leads, no sightings, no suspect information,” said Lt. Michael White of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station in West Hollywood. He could not even say when exactly the statue disappeared — sometime between midnight and 8 p.m. the day after the parade, he said.
“Something like this is pretty rare,” White said. “But it was a Monday after midnight. Things slow down. There aren’t as many people around.”
So far, at least, the authorities have not resorted to posting “Missing Dog” signs.
Created by William Sweetlove, a Belgian artist, and installed just in time for the annual parade, the dog and its accompanying statues were designed to convey the artist’s concerns about climate change; as the planet continues to grow warmer, dogs might need shoes to keep from burning their feet.
Andrew Campbell, the city’s cultural-affairs administrator, realized the pride parade might not be the safest spot for the statues. (West Hollywood’s parade, like many others across the country, has in recent years become more booze-soaked, skin-bearing fiesta than political rally.) He stood guard by the statues during the parade to make sure they were not harmed. And they were a hit with picture-snapping revelers, he said. But when he drove by the next day, one was missing.
Having watched workers install the statues, Campbell said it would have taken two or three people to move one.
Campbell said workers would do an additional “thing” to secure the dogs to their podiums. He would not go into specifics about what that thing would be.
“I kind of don’t want to get into that,” he said. “I don’t want to help people understand how they too could abscond with a dog.”