LETTER: We must protect our pets

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As a pet owner, I’m sure most other owners are aware of the gangs going around nationwide and stealing pets from either gardens or breaking into properties.

This is now becoming endemic and I read every single day on social media of distraught owners asking others to share their posts to try and find their stolen pets or contacting specialist websites who search on their behalf.

It is important to note that the gangs apparently attach colour-coded stickers to somewhere on properties with animals which tells the follow-up gang if the pets to be stolen are large, small, how many, etc. This is so well organised, so if you see this happening on your property or someone nearby, please alert them and then the police.

I don’t think you have to be an owner to imagine and have empathy with what owners of stolen animals must be going through, not knowing where their beloved pets are or if they will ever see them again. The stories emerging in the press, on specific websites and on social media are horrific to say the least.

Tiny kittens are being colour-coded with permanent ink so that the person who owns the dog in the fight will know if he/she has won once the kitten has been killed. Dogs, cats and rabbits are also being used as bait to encourage the dogs to fight and injure (or kill) them. In some areas the police are now involved but I get the impression that although this is a crime, as it is stealing, it’s not a priority.

Understandable when so many other crimes being committed and we are told resources are low but nonetheless, it’s another crime happening every single hour of every single day. Some people have even submitted photos of the vans complete with registration numbers too.

Animals, particularly kittens and pups, are advertised on some websites as ‘free to a good home’ or ‘for sale’ without always knowing where and who has ‘adopted’ them and what the consequences will be.

I realise that one can never get a hundred per cent guarantee that animals will be properly cared for once in someone else’s hands but just to give them away to anyone without checking, and sometimes they are much too young to be away from their mothers, is unbelievably cruel.

There seems to be an increasing lack of compassion for animals in the UK and many other parts of the world. It’s worse knowing that some (supposedly) human beings can use our beautiful, innocent animals for their own gain and treat them so cruelly. We all know that some unscrupulous puppy farm owners and the importation of pups from abroad is also prevalent in many areas.

I try to help in some way, especially by signing petitions (some of which have been successful) and in particular to the dog and cat meat markets in Asia, where I’m pleased to say hundreds of dogs and cats are being gradually rescued by people who care. Other petitions to stop abuse focus on farm animals, horses, elephants and all animals who need someone to speak up for them, even in a small way somewhere in the world.

You don’t have to love animals to help them but if you have care and compassion inside you somewhere, spreading the word about what these gangs are doing in our country, stealing much-loved pets and using them for their own gain, will surely make more people aware of what is happening around them and then perhaps a few pets will be saved from these cruel and disgusting people.

I realise that to some there are much more important things going on in this world but we also can’t ignore anything which causes pain and misery, no matter what species, human or animal.

A few more voices and more awareness is all that’s needed.

Christine Kneeling

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