S­te­a­ling dogs – the new cri­me t­rend in to­wn?

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

GRAAFF-REI­NET — From re­ports on so­ci­al me­dia, it would seem as though the­re has been a spi­ke in the theft of dogs in the Graaff­rei­net a­rea, and the­re is con­cern that the­se dogs are sto­len for dog fig­hting- either small dogs to be u­sed as bait in trai­ning, or big­ger dogs for fig­hting.

Ac­cor­ding to po­li­ce sta­tis­ti­cs, on­ly three ca­ses ha­ve been o­pe­ned with SAPS in the last fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar, so it seems as though ma­ny o­w­ners do not o­pen ca­ses, for w­ha­te­ver re­a­son.

B­rig Ru­dolph A­dolph, Clus­ter Com­man­der of Graaff-rei­net SAPS, would li­ke to ur­ge all pet o­w­ners to o­pen ca­ses w­hen animals are sto­len, as it will gi­ve a mo­re accu­ra­te re­flecti­on of the pro­blem.

Re­sour­ces can t­hen be al­lo­ca­ted to as­sist in this a­rea.

Ma­ny dogs ha­ve al­so been re­por­ted mis­sing in re­cent weeks, either es­ca­ping w­hen ga­tes are in­ad­ver­tent­ly left o­pen or so­meti­mes run­ning off w­hen they are sca­red of fi­re­works or thun­der.

Er­ma Voigt of CSI re­cent­ly shared her frus­tra­ti­on at the dif­fi­cul­ties of re­sto­ring lost dogs to their o­w­ners. “In my al­most 20 y­e­ars of being a dog o­w­ner my­self, and ha­ving ex­ten­si­ve de­a­lings with dog o­w­ners from all walks of li­fe, my ex­pe­rien­ce has been that the first thing that tru­ly re­spon­si­ble dog o­w­ners do is to put me­ans of i­den­ti­fi­ca­ti­on on their dog. T­hen, in the un­li­ke­ly e­vent of the dog get­ting lost, it will be e­a­sy for a­nyo­ne fin­ding it to reu­ni­te it with its rig­ht­ful o­w­ner”.

Ho­we­ver, Voigt feels that in Graaff­rei­net, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in the Hor­ses­hoe a­rea, ma­ny pe­op­le do not see the need to put an ID tag on the dog’s col­lar- if it e­ven has a col­lar. W­hen she has con­fron­ted pe­op­le a­bout this, she of­ten gets the re­spon­se that yes, the dog ro­ams, but it al­ways co­mes ho­me.

“W­hat if one day it does not co­me ho­me? It gets sto­len, pic­ked up by a con­cer­ned per­son who unsuccess­ful­ly tries to find the o­w­ner and de­ci­des to keep it and ca­re for it, or gets k­noc­ked o­ver by a car? Will you e­ven wor­ry? Will you e­ven ca­re? Will you con­tact your lo­cal animal shel­ter and look for it?” says a frus­tra­ted Voigt.

She con­ti­nues by chal­len­ging tho­se pe­op­le who do not see the need to put i­den­ti­fi­ca­ti­on tags on their animals to con­si­der tho­se who get in­vol­ved in fin­ding the dog and reu­ni­ting it with its o­w­ner.

If a call is ma­de to the SPCA, the per­son on stand­by will of­ten ha­ve to le­a­ve their own family to go to o­pen up the ken­nels to hou­se a stray animal that has been re­por­ted or broug­ht in by a con­cer­ned animal lo­ver. Af­ter all this ef­fort, the­se animals are of­ten ne­ver clai­med by their o­w­ners.

“Con­cer­ned pe­op­le fin­ding a stray dog of­ten go to a lot of trou­ble to try and find the o­w­ners: pos­ting on so­ci­al me­dia, ma­king fly­ers and put­ting them up at va­ri­ous points and in post boxes, con­tacting lo­cal vets, and con­tacting lo­cal shel­ters,” said Voigt.”

All this ti­me, ef­fort and trou­ble could ha­ve been a­voi­ded by a sim­ple col­lar and ID tag”. The­se tags are a­vai­la­ble from the lo­cal SPCA for on­ly R30, but it seems as though this is too much ef­fort for ma­ny pe­op­le.

A­not­her, mo­re per­ma­nent, op­ti­on is to ha­ve the dog mi­cro­chip­ped by a vet, a re­la­ti­ve­ly in­ex­pen­si­ve pro­ce­du­re of which not e­ver­yo­ne is a­wa­re. Mi­cro­chips can­not be re­mo­ved and in­stant­ly i­den­ti­fy the o­w­ners w­hen scan­ned, and un­li­ke a col­lar, can­not be lost or re­mo­ved. The com­bi­na­ti­on of a mi­cro­chip and ID tag is i­de­al.

Voigt would li­ke to ad­dress the fol­lo­wing to tho­se she con­si­ders ir­re­spon­si­ble o­w­ners: “I so­meti­mes find the o­w­ner of a stray dog, reu­ni­te them and ur­ge the o­w­ner to put a col­lar and ID tag on their dog, which I am pro­mi­sed will be do­ne. T­hen a week or two la­ter, I find the sa­me dog in the street a­gain, ta­ke it to the o­w­ner and in­qui­re a­bout the pro­mi­sed ID tag- on­ly to be told by the o­w­ner that they “ha­ven’t got a­round to it yet”. T­hen a month la­ter your dog is STILL ro­a­ming the street wit­hout any i­den­ti­fi­ca­ti­on, so I pick it up, ta­ke it to the vet, buy a col­lar that fits ni­ce­ly, buy an ID tag from my own poc­ket and put it on YOUR dog, be­cau­se I ha­ve le­ar­ned, if you didn’t ca­re e­nough to start with, you pro­ba­bly ne­ver will”.

The con­tact num­bers for the Graff­rei­net SPCA are 049 891 0256 (of­fi­ce) and af­ter hours 083 641 9180. The of­fi­ce ma­na­ger is Doug de K­lerk.

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