Tina the wonderdog: 2008-2010

Tina the wonderdog: 2008-2010

Here’s the tragic update to the story of Tina, my dog who was stolen on December 14 of last year from the Culver City News’ office by a man I had known for 15 years. During my last failed rescue attempt, this man threatened to kill her before he’d give her back to me: I received this email from him last weekend, “[Tina] was hit by a truck last week, you can have her back now. …Dead you know?”

Heartless, nasty email aside, it was quite a blow to hear that the dog I had hoped to get back one day was now gone for good. Chances are, she would still be alive and happy today if she had been returned to me. Tina was an amazing, loving, happy, smart dog. She will be missed by many. My plan with this blog is to take this tragedy and turn it around to help others.

Why is law enforcement so skiddish about helping in the case of pet stealing? What does the law say now? Do the laws need to change? Does law enforcement need to do something differently? I’m sure I will uncover a lot more questions along the way, and I will keep you informed. I intend to dig into these issues and give you as much information as I can to help you in the unfortunate instance that the same thing happens to your pet someday.

Leslie Belfor

I have come to the conclusion that some job hunters need a little reminder from an employer about how to make yourself look like a good candidate. One would think these things are just common sense, but judging by the number of resumes I get that don’t follow these simple rules, it’s not so common anymore! Forgive my rant. And there will be more to come. Here are some of the very basics:

  • When applying for a specific position, gear your resume to that position if you can. If you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, don’t list your acting credits in your resume. If you are applying for a job as an editor, don’t mention your stand-up comedy career.  It’s a fine thing if you do stand-up … but if it has nothing to do with the job for which you are applying, the employer will wonder why you chose to mention it. Is it your primary focus? If so, you don’t need to be my editor.
  • Change your objective to something specifically about the job for which you are applying. Objectives that read something like, “To obtain employment with a company that will utilize my skill set” is simply too vague and because it says absolutely nothing … why even use an objective? I once got a response to an ad for a salesperson of a resume which listed as the objective, “to find work as an airplane mechanic.”  I wonder if he questioned why nobody ever called him back for sales positions. A good objective actually states something about the specific position for which you are applying. It’s ok to change it for each job application.

Look, I know – and other employers know – that times are tough right now. I know that you are looking for jobs all over the place and perhaps you are even looking outside of your originally chosen field. But, I have to weed through a TON of resumes. Please make yours stand out by appearing to have read my ad. And pay attention to the details. 

  • Use a phrase from the ad in your cover letter – it shows that you actually read the ad.
  • If there are special instructions in the ad, follow them. For instance, in my recent ad for a graphic designer, I stated that only resumes accompanied by a specific cover letter and salary history would be considered. And still I received over 50 resumes with no subject line, no cover letter and no salary history at all. Do you think I’m going to consider someone who doesn’t follow the first direction I even give them?

Someone told me that they felt uneasy giving a salary history or requirement in this economy, because they didn’t want to scare off potential employers by asking for too much. Well, here’s the thing: You are looking for a job you will be happy to keep for awhile. I am looking for an employee who will be happy to stay for awhile. If you KNOW from the outset that you will not be able to live on the amount we pay as stated in the ad, please don’t apply. If you think you can live on it, although you are used to making more money, state that although your salary history is higher, you are willing to work for less because of the other perks … nice people, small, friendly office, challenging career move … or whatever.

Recently, I got a cover letter … oh this was priceless … I will paste it here:

“This letter is to express my interest in the {Position Listed in Posting} position listed on CareerBuilder.com. Based on my skill set, I am confident that I would be a great addition to your team. My resume that highlights my ability/knowledge/expertise read in your outline, tells me this could be a perfect fit … and yes, I say that somewhat egotistically, I know … but I believe it to be true. I’ve had one job for 20 years that allowed me to get to this point. Sadly, things change. The opportunity to pursue something like this is exciting … and I would NOT waste your time if I didn’t think I was a perfect fit.”


First – {Position Listed in Posting}????? Hello?

Second – I didn’t advertise on CareerBuilder.com.

Third – There is absolutely NOTHING specific in this whole letter. Even if he got the other stuff right. This letter is too generic.

Fourth – Need I say more?


I got another resume via email that had “exploit me” in the subject line. (hint) If this job or the wage we offer is beneath you, please do not apply. You have just wasted your time in sending the resume and my time as I read it, and you have burnt a possible bridge. I will remember the name of the person who sends that kind of email. And I will not hire them. Ever.


  • Ok … one more thing when answering an ad that states the rate of pay: Don’t ask for twice as much. I am a proponent of asking for more than the stated rate of pay, if you feel that your skills and experience warrant it, but you are never likely to get twice as much as they originally posted. Hit something within the same ballpark if you want to push your luck. Or – if you want the job and don’t want to take any chances, ask for the amount they actually offer.


Times are tough for everyone – including employers. So, if they are offering a lower wage, it’s probably because they can afford to pay that wage and not more.


Ohhhhhhhhhh, I could go on … and I will. But that is my rant of the day, folks. Have a great weekend. And best of luck in your job hunt! 

Leslie Belfor



Check the classifieds section of this week’s Cuvler City News to see what local jobs are available. Also, if you are an employer, think about running your ads in the newspaper. You will know that your employees live nearby, so they are not likely to be late due to traffic. And who wants a long commute to work in the LA traffic, anyway?


camera-guy-36669610Are you a photographer or photography enthusiast? Enter the Culver City News‘ Best of Culver City Photo Contest and have your winning photos published in the Best of Culver City Magazine 2010. The magazine will be distributed all over the Westside on Nov. 4 and around Culver City throughout the year.




Here are the categories:

  • Culver City landmarks
  • Historical Culver City
  • Local pets
  • Local families
  • Culver City events
  • Local food/dining
  • Culver City entertainment
  • Local sports
  • Local art
  • Culver City homes
  • Local nature shots

Don’t know which category best fits your photo? You may submit each photo in up to three categories.

Send us your entries along with the category (or categories) in which you are entering; your name, address, phone number, email address, the title and the story behind the photo (if you have one). Submission implies that the photos entered are your own property and carry no outside copyrights, and may be used for publication with the Culver City News and/or its affiliates.

We prefer electronic files but old fashioned photographs are acceptable too. Email to publisher@culvercitynews.org before midnight Friday, Oct. 1. Or if you prefer, bring or send hard copies to “Photo Contest,” Culver City News, 4351 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230.

This is our first photo contest and we are excited to see the results … Culver City is loaded with great photo opportunities … and talent! Questions? Please ask. I will answer all inquiries.

-Leslie Belfor

Publisher, Culver City News

Under the law, dogs are property – like a bicycle, a purse or a car. But have you ever had a pet stolen … and actually gotten them back? Do you think the laws about “pet-napping” need to be different from those for auto theft? Or do the laws just need to be enforced? I got the impression that law enforcement really doesn’t know HOW to enforce the law as it pertains to pet stealing. 

Here’s my story: You may recall “a rescue story” from a few months ago, in which I talked about my dog, Tina, who was stolen from my office in front of three employees in broad daylight. I had immediately called the police and the animal services officer, who came out and spoke to me with compassion about the situation. They seemed very concerned and offered that this was indeed grand theft, larceny, and … who knows what else. I pretty much stopped listening to the list of offenses after I heard the trump cards played first.

However, even though I have all of the papers showing that I am the owner, Tina is micro-chipped with my information, all of the vet bills were paid by me for the first year of her life, and I have many witnesses to the fact that the thief left me a message three months earlier stating that she was entirely my dog, they wouldn’t do anything to retrieve her for me.

Let’s step back a second. I need to give you some history, if you didn’t read the original story. I am highlighting the history section in blue, so you can skip it if you already know this part.

This person – the thief – used to be a dear friend of mine. His friend had picked up a “stray” on the street one day and brought the dog who would be called Tina home as a “gift.” My friend was absolutely broke, and had been out of work for more than six months. He was sharing his studio apartment in order to get some help with the rent. And his apartment didn’t allow pets. So, he asked me if I would like this dog, but since I was in the process of moving, I told him I would love to take her in a month or so, when I was settled.

He called me one day, in a panic. He had just received a 3 day or quit notice on his door and needed me to take her right away – which I happily did. I took in this sweet little puppy, whose hair was completely matted and covered with fleas, and had her groomed and healthy in no time. He wanted to “share custody,” but couldn’t keep her at his place and couldn’t afford anything like food or shots or registration … or grooming … so I took care of all of that.

Six months later, it became apparent that he just could not swing the responsibilities of dog ownership. So I told him it was time to make a decision. I would gladly keep her happy and healthy for the next 15 years of her life, or he would have to take her back. Six months is too long to be in limbo! For Tina and for me!

So, my friend called and left a voicemail message stating that he had given it a lot of thought and since Tina was happy living with me, and since I could afford to take care of her and my lifestyle didn’t interfere with dog ownership – like his did – he was officially stating that she was now entirely my dog. No more limbo.

So, at this point I had her micro-chipped and spayed. I bought her a carrier that I could take onto the airplane, so that she could accompany me to Colorado for the holidays. All of my friends, my whole family and all of their dogs were looking forward to meeting my wonderful Tina!

Now we’re back to where this blog began … this person I used to call my friend came into the office one morning, left the door open, grabbed Tina and ran out the door, down the street and jumped into an early model Honda Prelude and drove away.

As I said earlier, the law sees dogs as property – like a bicycle, a purse or a car. However, if someone stole my car in front of witnesses, and I had the registration and Lo-Jack on it, don’t you think I would have my car back by now?

The Culver City Police said they couldn’t do anything since he took her to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police said they couldn’t do anything since I filed the report in Culver City, where the actual theft took place. I spoke to many attorneys, police officers and detectives, animal activists, friends … family … and EVERYONE said that she was obviously my dog and I should be able to get her back.

If my car had been stolen in Culver City and taken to Los Angeles, would Culver City Police help me? Would Los Angeles Police help me? Would anyone help me, even if I knew who stole it and where it is now???

Yet, everyone I spoke to said that there was nothing they could do. The paperwork and witnesses would help me in a court of law, and I would definitely win, but they couldn’t get her back for me without my filing a civil suit … which requires the hiring of an attorney. And what attorney will be interested in taking a case like this? Well … none that I could find.

Tina relaxes on the grass with her good friend Bella in the summer of 2009.

Tina relaxes on the grass with her good friend Bella in the summer of 2009.

I could sue in small claims court for the $1,800+ I had spent on her since she came to live with me in early April of 2009, and although I would win that case, I would not get my dog back because small claims court is ONLY about money – not property.

Many folks told me to go and just “get her back” on my own. I attempted this last January with a few friends and a videographer to record the whole thing in case there was any dispute as to what really happened. This attempt failed, and during my rescue attempt he repeatedly threatened to “kill the dog before he gave her back to me.”  My ex-friend then harassed me and my co-workers while at the office on numerous occasions. I also got a few disturbing text messages from him. But all of that ceased after about four more calls to law enforcement.

Still, I don’t know what has become of my precious dog, Tina. I LOVE this dog. I miss her every day. I worry about her livelihood with this flake whose erratic behavior had become actually scary over the course of the eight months I had Tina with me. Is Tina still alive? Is she healthy? Will I ever get her back?

Tina's last visit to the beach before she was stolen in December of 2009.

Tina's last visit to the beach before she was stolen in December of 2009.

Has anyone else encountered the theft of their pet … and actually gotten them back? How did you do it? Did you have an attorney who took your case out of the goodness of his/her heart? Do you think the law needs to be changed or just enforced? We want YOUR opinion!