“It was agonising,” says Sadanand, the owner of a Golden Retriever called Tyson, referring to the day his beloved pet went missing. However, he was fortunate to have Tyson returned to him by a kind-hearted person who saw a ‘lost dog' notice in the paper two weeks later.

Sadanand's neighbour and PETA activist Niranjan Amarnath worked with him to look for Tyson and says that while this was luckily not a case of theft, it very often is. He links a majority of pedigree dog thefts to the pet trade. Says Niranjan — “Pedigree dogs get stolen for breeding. Each pup fetches the thief a good amount of money. The best way to prevent them from getting stolen is to spay or neuter.” Niranjan believes that commercialisation leads to the risk of dog-napping. “When demand for pedigree dogs exists, there are people who will exploit this opportunity. Adopt (an Indian rescue or an abandoned pedigree) free of cost from a shelter or adoption outfit such as Chennai Adoption Drive instead.”

He adds — “Nobody seems to have a tag with phone numbers on their dogs' collars.” He recommends that the tag be engraved with the dog's name, owner's name, phone number and mention that the pet is spayed or neutered. “Keep dogs indoors. Several people allow pets to roam around on the streets unattended. Instead, take dogs for regular walks on a leash.” Information on where you can order and engrave dog tags is available at anu.petadoptions@gmail.com.

Sadanand urges pet owners to keep their dogs' vaccinations up-to-date so they do not pick up infections when they go missing. As for those of us who find a missing pet, the best thing to do is to foster or adopt him while looking for the owner or sending him to a shelter (with details of where he was found). A house pet will be unable to defend himself against territorial homeless dogs. Shelters are the first places owners look, and this increases the chances of pet and owner reuniting. If you find or lose a pet, use the template at www.lostnfoundpets.tk and email with a photo to chennaianimalwelfare@gmail.com. The site, founded by two software engineers is slated to become the one-stop database of Chennai's lost and found pets.

Take me homeThis rescued pooch is all set for her new home. Call Chennai Adoption Drive at 9025389033

Take me homeAdopt a healthy, affectionate mongrel puppy. Call 9445250124

Take me homeThese two rescued Indian pups are healthy and friendly. Call 9962281817

Take me homeLooking to adopt a gorgeous rescued kitten or two? Call 9444088685

Hero of the weekRebekah nominates Venkat for driving from Guindy to Besant Nagar in the pouring rain to rescue a kitten that had been stuck in a drain pipe for several hours

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012