Local News

Is an organized dognapping ring taking Moore County pets?

LOCAL NEWS — Over the weekend, lots of locals starting reposting a link to New Channel 5 story that read, “Pet Dogs Disappearing in Hands of Organized Theft Ring.” After clicking the link, The Lychburg Times realized the headline was originally filed in February 2018 and updated September 2018. So we wondered … do local officials think this is an ongoing problem?

“I haven’t noticed an increase,” said one local animal organization spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous. “I think dogs are picked up with no intent of finding the owner. But I also feel like a lot of smaller dogs and cats are the victims of predators, especially in the rural areas.”

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA), coyotes populations have increased in Tennessee especially in rural areas. They recommend that pet owners not allow their animals to roam free, especially at night, as small pets are a coyote’s favorite prey.

Animal organizations also say pure breed owners should be especially cautious about allowing pets to wander.

“You could pick up a pure bred Cocker Spaniel, never tell anyone, and some might keep it, but you could also turn around and sell it for $500 or more,” they said.

When we asked Metro Moore County Sheriff Tyler Hatfield if he’d seen a spike in stolen dog reports, he also stated no.

“I’ve seen the reports going around on social media but we haven’t had any reports that I’m aware of,” he said.

Whatever the reason pets go missing, there are a couple of things local dog and cat owners can do to keep their pets safe. Lynchburg Veterinary Hospital vet Dr. Bryant Morton says micro chipping increases the chance of you getting your pet back.

“They will not locate pets but it takes the guess work out of identification. Microchips are, for the most part, a permanent means of registered ownership,” he says.

Dr. Morton also highly recommend spaying and neutering pets, so they aren’t tempted to wander from home.

For rural pet owners that do allow dogs and cats to roam, Dr. Morton recommends a tracking app like Whistle. He and his wife, Wendy, track their dog, Rubie, with an app on their phone. The system sends texts when Rubie wanders more than 500 yards from their home. It also shows her exact location at all times and tracks how many calories she burns. The device costs around $100 and there is a monthly cellular subscription associated with the device.

“To me this is money well spent,” Dr. Morton said. “I’ll sacrifice one fast food lunch a month to know where Rubie is at all times. It’s a no brainer.”  •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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