PET THEFT HITS INDIA
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:
“Organized gangs are abducting
pedigreed dogs for breeding and ransom,
spreading terror among the owners
in the southern city of Bangalore,”
S.N.M. Abdi of the Hong Kong-based
South China Morning Post r e c e n t l y
reported from Calcutta––a story which
must have seemed bizarre back in India,
where even dogs of popular breed type
are so abundant at large that anyone who
wants a dog can attract one with just a
piece of bread.
But the Abdi account followed
only a month after The Times of India
described the pampered treatment of the
231 purebreds entered in the 90th annual
Bombay Presidency Kennel Dog Club
show in Mumbai.
“Sadly,” Times of India
reporter Lina Chowdhury wrote, “there
was only one representative of an Indian
breed, the caravan hound of
Foreign breeds, ironically, are
much better known. As in the U.S.,
German shepherds and Labrador retrievers
are reportedly most popular of all.
“Breeding dogs for upwardly
mobile status seekers has become
extremely lucrative,” Arati Devraj of the
Bangalore humane group Compassion
Unlimited Plus Action told Abdi.
Thus to people who may struggle
to afford a piece of bread, the opportunity
to steal and hold for ransom or
resell a purebred dog may present significant
temptation. Abdi indicated that certain
veterinarians and pet dealers are
apparently quite willing to forge papers
for any purebreds who come their way.
According to Abdi, former
Miss India Nifisa Joseph hired sentries to
protect her boxer, German shepherd,
and Labrador cross. Joseph writes a syndicated
column about animals.
Microchipping services may
cash in from the growth of dog theft––
but the longterm solution may simply be
more recognition that for most purposes
a dog is a dog, and that equivalent
investment in street dogs will easily start
more tails wagging.