As It Happens

Thieves on the lam with bull penis dog treats, says St. John's pet store owner

A pet store owner in St. John's is flummoxed after learning a pair of brazen thieves stole his pizzles, otherwise known as dried bull penises. And he tells us it's got him wondering if there's a bull penis black market.

Mark Winsor says two thieves stole hundreds of dollars worth of bull penises from his pet store

A Newfoundland pet store owner says two thieves stole handfuls of dehydrated bull penis dog chews from his store. (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

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Mark Winsor says two people just strolled into his pet store, grabbed handful after handful of the penises, and took off.

To be more specific, they grabbed dehydrated bull penises. The dried and stretched penises are also known as pizzles. They're a popular and tasty chew toy for dogs.

Winsor, owner of the Pet Zone in St. John's, notified the police immediately. He spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about the brazen theft.

Here's part of their conversation.

Mark, before we get to the theft, if we could just clear something up: why does your pet store sell penises?

It's a popular item. I guess it's because it's digestible.

It's just easier for a dog to chew on. You know, years ago it was the old, I don't if everyone remembers, but it was the old bleached white and brown rawhide, which made it much more difficult to digest.

And the taste, and not to sound gross or nothing, but the taste is is much more flavourful for a dog.

What do you think it tastes like?

I never tried one, but they are popular and dogs do love them.

Several Pizzles, or dehydrated bull penises, have been stolen from Pet Zone in St. John's, Nfld. (Submitted)

When did you realize that you had been robbed?

It was just Saturday past around 5:00 p.m. we got a call. We're still mind-boggled until this day.

It was a man and a woman that done the theft. We do have surveillance so you can see them take the handfuls of, well, pizzles-slash-penis.

And they tried to put it up their shirt or, you know, wherever they tried to put it. But they took so much of it in their hands. They just walked out like it was a normal shopping day.

And how many did they walk out with?

They walked out with hundreds of dollars worth, believe it or not. Because how it goes with the pizzle is the longer, well, the more it costs. And, you know, the shorter, well, it doesn't cost as much.

Maybe they were going to resell them somewhere. Unless the couple really, really loved their animals.- Mark Winsor

So people like the long ones.

It's all based on preference with the size [of the] dog. Then, you know, if you have a big dog, well then you go with a longer one.

So, again, what happens with the pizzle, is where is dehydrated, you know, the animal starts from the tip and then they just keep on chewing down till there's nothing left.

What's the longest pizzle you've had?

About four feet long.

Good heavens.

Yeah. Right from four feet to four inches.

And so a dog works that thing until it's gone, I guess.

Yeah. And again, it's much more safe. Again, you don't have to worry about any splintering. It doesn't cause any blockages.

So how do you think that thieves could unload stolen bull penises?

Maybe they were going to resell them somewhere. The black market did cross my mind. Unless the couple really, really loved their animals.

So they may have been stealing them for their pets. OK. There's that possibility. But what's the value? 

Yeah, well, if we sold, say a three foot one, there about $24 for a three-foot one.

OK. So what do you think the street value of the bull penis is?

The street value? You probably get them for $15 each. Maybe more. You know, the pizzle is a very high-end item.

Because they're so popular, it's the market, I guess, that drives them up because they're in high demand.

When the thieves left with their pizzles, from our location here in St. John's, they actually went afterwards to our sister store, believe it or not.

For more pizzles?

We don't know. We went through the surveillance and what had happened was at our sister store, right away, we got a call. 

Our supervisor here was just on the radar to make sure everything is all right in the store. She noticed that the thieves were in our other store.

Do think you you might, in the future, have to get some kind of a case, like lock up your pizzles, so they don't get stolen?

Well, you know, it's funny. Not to sound crude on the phone, but you know, people like to see things and people like to touch.

Got it.

That's the way it is, you know?

It's like when people go to a grocery store. People like to to look at their fruits and when people come into our store they look they like to look at all these different type of parts that we sell. To lock them up, you know, that's something that I wouldn't agree with.

Written by Jeanne Armstrong and John McGill. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.


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