An Increase in Stolen Animals in Region 8? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro -- Heather Flanigan Reports

An Increase in Stolen Animals in Region 8?

April 30, 2004 -- Posted at 4:14 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- For some people, pets are members of the family and when Fluffy or Fido is missing, the impact can be devastating. But what if someone steals your beloved pet?

Nearly two million companion animals are stolen each year. Some times, these animals are then sold to research laboratories, dog-fighting rings, or puppy mills, where they are abused and often killed, but there are measure you can take to protect your pet.

"Now that the weather has gotten warmer, I guess people are leaving their dogs outside more. They're more apt to roam and their more apt to disappear," said Keith Boles, assistant manager at Petco.

Or they might be more apt to be stolen.

"You can guess that every three months there will be a rash of five or six dogs going missing. There are people just going from community to community stealing dogs for lots of reasons, putting them in puppy mills to bread, selling them for research," said Wannda Turner of the Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

And the Ross family of Jonesboro believes that's what happened to their dog Mac, who has been missing over a month. "As time goes by nobody responds to your ads, you wonder if someone didn't take him to keep him...we hope not, and then on the other hand, we hope that if someone did do that we hope that they are taking care of him," said Bill Ross.

The Ross' are offering a $500 reward for the safe return of their Boston Terrier.

"You think about it every day, and part of you tries to not think about it so much, it makes you so sad," said Ross.

ID tags like are just one way pet owners can protect their pets. Other popular, but more expensive methods include tattooing the upper lip of the animal or inserting a microchip just underneath the skin.

Boles said, "One of the simplest ways to keep your dog from running off is to put in a wooden fence."

But if you can't afford or have a fence where you live, you can still protect your pets.

"The two most important things you can do to protect your pet is always have them have a collar with a tag that contains your telephone number and the dogs name," said Turner.

But if your pet does turn up missing, Turner says don't give up.

"Put an ad in the paper, contact every vet, contact the Humane Society, contact Northeast Arkansas for Animals and Animal Control. Don't just do it once, you know, make a pest of yourself, make posters, put posters up. Contact anybody and everybody you know and let them know that your dog is missing, and don't give up," said Turner.

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