Should your pet be lost or stolen this may be one of the only ways of finding them as it gives the vets and Animal Welfare Organisations who could cross their paths some way of identifying where they belong. Every appliance we have in our home has a serial number to ensure that we can identify it so why should we fail to realise the importance of doing this for our pets that have become such an integral part of our family.
It is non-invasive, literally the size of a grain of rice and the procedure is quick, pain free and the cost is relative, no pun intended! Organisations automatically scan animals when handed in, so if chipped they are returned sooner rather than later helping to reduce the stress to an animal of being held by strangers.
Every day I read posts from organisations that has either found a pet or been notified of one that has gone missing, and I am sad to say that these seem to be getting more and more frequent. It is frightening to say the least, and must be even more so for the animal concerned and the family searching for them.
To make matters worse, we have a criminal element in this country that feels possession is ‘nine tenths of the law’ who help themselves without fear of recrimination or remorse of ripping away from a family a beloved pet considering it a property that can be sold or used, just like an appliance.
Their mentality and thought process in doing this I don’t think I will ever be able to understand but they are out there and they will continue to do so, so now it is up to us to be vigilant and protect what is ours by every means possible. We have to consider that where in the past dogs were considered a deterrent and protected the home they are now one of the valuable commodities that are stolen. Whether large or small animals no-one is safe as if they can find a means to an end they will use and abuse someone we love and to live through that nightmare of ‘what if, where are they and what is happening to them’ is something we should try to avoid at all costs
Our homes, our sanctuary away from the humdrum of life are under constant threat, we are being watched coming and going so that they know when to strike. There are spotters who go out looking for weaknesses in our defenses so that when our backs are turned we are violated, anything for a quick buck without conscience. So what do we do…?
Firstly, Microchip your animals, have an identikit just like a passport, with a photo and description just in case G’d forbid something should happen, keep it with the inoculation card that you have from the vet. When under the pressure of emotions it is amazing the things that we tend to forget and collars with tags can be removed.
Secondly, if your pet is missing under whatever circumstances, put up a sign on your front lawn with a picture so that passersby and your neighbours can be your ‘Eyes and Ears’ on the ground. Contact organisations such as surrounding vets, local animal welfare organisations, breed specific organisations, and those that diligently specialise in reuniting the Lost & Found:
Missing Pets South Africa * Petfinders * Lost & Found Pets SA * Lost & Found Pets Cape Town * Pet Detective * Pet Tails * Lost & Found Pets Helderberg (all have Facebook pages)
If you know that they have been stolen, report it to your local Police Station and National Animal Welfare Task Team to know what would be required see the (Stolen report form under notes). Place an ad on Gumtree, OLX and in your local newspaper, put up flyers in shops and around your home, post it on Facebook; you will be amazed at how many people out there are willing to help.
Now for the frightening part, please do not think that your pet would be excluded because it is a small, too old, a certain type of breed or never goes anywhere without you; accidents happen and if the opportunity arises people take them!
Small dogs and cats are taken for training fighting dogs, whether thrown in to antagonise or placed to chase, puppies to bait and pedigreed breeds for fighting, if unaltered then puppy mills develop, they are even using animals as drug mules – these days it doesn’t matter who, what or why! And if they can find them wandering the roads on their own it just makes their lives easier, please secure your property and be careful
The majority of us are aware of the dog syndicates operating throughout the country, stealing dogs to smuggle over the border. These people have no empathy towards animals so be on the lookout, if you see someone with a dog and it doesn’t seem right then it probably isn’t; if possible take a picture but remembering safety first.
Please we have to start helping ourselves to help one another – start with a Microchip: Identipet or Virbac Back Home or ask your vet to recommend.