"In September alone, two of my clients have complained of their expensive pugs having been stolen," says Veterinarian D. Premkumar of Bibikulam.

Pet owners in the city are increasingly wary of losing their pups.

Take the case of M. John Malvino, a 21-year-old engineering student of Koodal Nagar here. He lost his three-month-old unnamed Boxer pup a week ago. He has tried everything in the book to find him, including putting up ‘dog missing’ posters around his locality.

Mr. Malvino has offered to present a mobile phone to anyone who provides concrete information about his milk-white pup. But there have been no takers so far.

“My mother and I live here. My father stays in Tuticorin. The loneliness made me long for a companion with whom I could unwind and relax. I purchased the pup a month ago for Rs. 7,000 which I saved from selling fancy fish during my free time. The pup was loving and cute. But unfortunately, it stepped out of the house during my absence and got lost. Though I spent only a month with the little one, I am attached to it so much that I could not eat or drink for more than four days since I lost the dog,” he recounts.

Veterinarian D. Premkumar of Bibikulam here notes there has been a spurt in the number of lost pets in the city in recent times. “In September alone, two of my clients have complained of their expensive pugs having been stolen,” he says.

According to him, people in the city, especially those living in apartments, buy dogs for company rather than security. Apartment dwellers prefer breeds such as pugs because they are not ferocious and do not bark much.

“These qualities come in handy for thieves too. They get hold of the pets easily and sell them off in distant places. Dogs usually start biting only after they reach eight months. Therefore, it is easy to steal the puppies,” he points out.

M. Ganesh, an animal rights activist, says that most cases of missing dogs go unreported because the owners hesitate to lodge police complaints for fear of ridicule. There is also no organisation that maintains a data bank of lost pets.

“Many pet owners shy away even from pasting posters and inserting advertisements in newspapers seeking information about their lost pets because people tend to make fun of such advertisements. Those who poke fun do not think of the agony the pets undergo after getting lost,” he adds.

Mr. Premkumar advises pet owners to insert micro chips into their pets so that they can be easily tracked through the Global Positioning System.

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