“Our family is devastated”, says Vedavalli Srikanth whose four-month-old fawn-coloured Labrador puppy Simba was stolen from in front of her house. “A couple of men took him and sped away on a black bike that appeared to be a Pulsar,” she says, adding that an FIR is being filed to help trace their pet. Vedavalli is anxious to share her experience with owners of pedigree pets as they are at high risk of dognapping. “We used to let him out for short periods so he could relieve himself. We hope his disappearance will serve as a warning to all owners to be more careful.”

The stolen pet trade has grown considerably in Chennai and several such thefts have been reported from across the city this past year. While portals such as www.lostnfoundpets.tk have come up to share news of missing (or found) pets, stolen animals are harder to locate.

Says Dr. Mini Vasudevan, founder of Humane Animal Society, Coimbatore: “Stealing the love of someone's life is heartless and inhumane, yet it's a sad reality inflicted upon many owners of pedigree pets. As long as we pay for pedigree animals, the stolen dog market will flourish unabated since the most common reason pets are stolen is their perceived monetary value and breeding potential.” She advocates free of cost adoption of shelter animals for those who are yet to get a pet, and for those who already have a pedigree pet, her advice is to be doubly careful. “There are several steps to prevent theft. Never leave pets in front yards unattended. Avoid leaving pets tied up outside shops and other public places. Spay or neuter your pets. Attach an ID tag to their collar that says they are spayed/neutered.”

As for Simba, Vedavalli continues to look for him and appeals for help so she can be re-united with her much-loved family member.

(To report a stolen pet who matches Simba's description, contact 23664830/

9445280230. To get details on ID tags for dogs, email anu.petadoptions@gmail.com)

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TAKE ME HOME Gorgeous Ruby is an Indian female pup aged nearly two months. She is intelligent, friendly and gets attached to people easily. Call 9500058562

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HERO OF THE WEEK Asha nominates her cousin Sri for adopting a homeless puppy and a blind Labrador. Sri and her family also vaccinate the dogs on their street regularly.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012