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The Animal Thief
Mysteries by Kids 13: October 1999
by Lemon9drop

My dog Sherman was the best hound dog ever. But he was always getting me mixed up in mysteries--especially last Sunday, when he spied something and dragged me toward it!
It was just a squirrel, but that's not what made it so important. As Sherman, a huge black dog, ran after the squirrel, he gave a yelp. And before we knew it, Sherman and I were caught in a net, dangling from a tree!
Altogether, we weighed more than whoever had put the trap up intended to have in his net, so several seconds later we fell to the ground. It was a short drop, so we weren't hurt. Even though it was pretty hard getting untangled. By the time we were done the sun was setting and I knew mom would be wondering where we were. So we quickly ran out of the woods and sprinted down to our little house on Cole Road. My mom was waiting outside for us.
"Kaitlyn! Where have you been! You should have been home half an hour ago!" I considered telling her what happened, but I usually I only walk around the block or up to my best friend Melanie's house because mom said the woods were dangerous. She thought I'd get bitten by a rabid raccoon or something. The woods were right in between Melanie's and my house, behind our school, Mallordale Jr. High.
But since I didn't want to get in trouble, I just told mom we had stopped for cookies at Melanie's and she told me she hoped I hadn't ruined my appetite but I said I was still hungry. And that was true, I was famished.
After I had eaten my chicken, I went up to my room to think about the animal trap in the woods. Who would want to catch animals? I had always been an animal-lover and I didn't understand why anyone would want to hurt them.
So the next day after school, Sherman and I took a nice long walk in the Mallordale Forest, searching for more animal traps. And boy, once we started looking, did we find animal traps!
There were two more nets dangling from the trees, along with lots of traps covered with leaves that would close on your foot when you stepped on it. One of them had a chipmunk in it, which I let free by twisting the knob and snapping the teeth apart. The chipmunk hurried to safety, and Sherman didn't even try to chase it.
One of those traps was closed with nothing in it, and I picked it up. I was inspecting it for clues-- but of course, no one would leave their name on a deadly trap-- when somewhere behind me I heard a car start.
"C'mon, Sherman!" I yelled, and we ran after the noise as fast as we could. We ran towards a clearing about a hundred yards away, and saw a bright-red sports car peeling out of the woods.
I knew that car-- it was Mr. Heriviam's car! I didn't know much about him, but I did know that he lived near by and was famous for his hatred of animals. Why, he'd even called our house to complain about Sherman!
So I hopped on my bike, still holding the trap, and peddled to his house, with Sherman running behind me.
I knocked on the door and after it opened, and without looking to see who had answered it I held up the trap and exclaimed "You've been trapping animals!" I immediately regretted speaking so quickly.
In front of me stood a beautiful lady, in a shimmering red dress with long, curly hair to her waist and tons of jewelry. She looked at me quizzically and asked, "May I help you?"

Before I could answer, a tall, slightly wide man in a suit walked to the door. My mom had told me that Mr. Heriviam owned a company that manufactured jewelry and was very rich. She had said he only lived in our neighborhood instead of a mansion because his old, frail, mother lived several streets over. He certainly looked very rich, very important-- and big. But I looked at the animal trap and repeated, "You've been trapping animals!"
Mr. Heriviam looked startled, then scared. He covered it all up by laughing, and said, "So I have!" Than the lady began to laugh too, nervously and said "Oh, Frank!" Then Mr. Heriviam said he'd be right back and walked into the next room and came back holding a business card, a pamphlet, and an heavy piece of stationary.
He said, "You probably don't know this, but I'm Frank Heriviam, owner of Heriviam's Jewelers. Recently the government of Pennsylvania called me, and due to an animal overpopulation, requested for me to trap several particular species, with permission to make coats from the fur. I've always loved animals," -- and here he smiled, showing way too many teeth-- "but due to the overpopulation I have mentioned, I know it was the right thing to do. Oh, yes, this is Miranda McPearson, Owner of Fabulous Fine Furs, who is also helping me in this recent project. We were just on our way to a dinner with the governor to discuss the Overpopulation Project, as we call it." At that moment he flashed the stationery at me, but so quickly all I could see was what looked like a very official government symbol. "Here, take a pamphlet on it and my business card. Remember, Heriviam's jewelers is number one. Oh, and in the manner of safety, there was a warning sign out side of The Mallordale Woods. And... oh, goodness! Look at that dog!"
Sherman had gotten bored and had attacked the long train of Miranda's dress. He held the piece of fabric in his jaws, and jumped onto the stairs and up onto the railing. Mr. Heriviam walked over and swatted Sherman on the tail. Sherman growled. He doesn't like to be messed with. Mr. Heriviam backed away as Sherman started to chase him around the room. Ms. McPearson and I tried to stay out of there way, and Sherman kept chasing Mr. Heriviam until he tripped on his own feet, and all the papers he was holding fell out of his hands at my feet. I picked up the "official" governor's letter and quickly read it. Then I exclaimed, "You're a liar! Everything you're doing is illegal!"
It was a letter from the government, alright-- from state officials, dated 2 months ago, that told him that they had heard complaints of him setting animal traps in the woods. It said if he didn't stop he could go to prison!
Miranda turned white and ran out the door, her ripped dress flying in the wind. I closed the door so Mr. Heriviam couldn't escape.
Mr. Heriviam and I looked at each other. He tried to smile. Sherman growled.
Mr. Heriviam tried to run upstairs, but Sherman stopped him, giving me time to call the police. They had heard of his case and arrived in seconds to take Mr. Heriviam and Miranda to prison! Sherman had saved the day again!
Congratulations, Lemon9drop !
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