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Protect your dogs

I never know how much to trust social media.

But I suppose I would be a fool to ignore the increasing number of reports of dogs being snatched by thieves.

I find it hard to imagine the mindset of criminals who could do this, or the distress this might cause to a family to lose their loved one in this way.

I imagine that the unscrupulous crooks are planning to breed from these innocents, or sell them on for profit. As there is such a demand at the moment for new pets, there might be quite a market for a stolen pet marketed as a ‘rescue’, or for crossbred puppies, however ghastly their parents’ origins and home life might be.

Should you be among those puppy-hunting at the moment, please remember the ‘Where’s Mum?’ rule. If a person offering puppies for sale declines to let you visit with the pup’s mother, they usually have something to hide.

You need to consider whether you are supporting puppy farming. Potentially stolen pets are kept in tiny, filthy outside pens with no cuddles, just to fulfil the demand for puppies.

If only I could implant GPS trackers into my patients. But sadly, the technology to miniaturise GPS (global positioning systems) and the batteries they require has not yet been invented. The only GPS trackers on sale are clipped onto a collar, and easily removed by crooks.

Of course, all dogs over eight weeks old have a (non GPS) chip inserted. It’s possible that some stolen pets sold on might one day be identified and returned. But those kept for breeding may never get that opportunity.

So, as you walk your dog in the next few days, consider the risks.

  • Is your canine companion near enough to you that you could intervene in an emergency?
  • How is their recall? Is it time to put some effort into rehearsing this again?
  • Could you alter your route away from roadsides where a vehicle might pull up to attempt to snatch your pet
  • If the dogs are going to be outside in the garden unsupervised, how secure is the gate?

I sincerely hope that this never happens to anyone, and that the stories are just hype, but I suppose there is no harm in being prepared.

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