|Posted on August 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM|
One minute Badmaash was walking on the road in Gurgaon's DLF Phase III. The next minute she was gone. Her owner Amitabh — who'd been walking a few paces behind her — kept calling for her but the golden retriever just couldn't be found. He spent a troubled night, then began to put up flyers asking people whether they had seen Badmaash. It was an urgent appeal as she was epileptic. Amitabh also got in touch with NGOs which help find homes for lost and abandoned dogs. They told him this was nothing new. Pedigreed dogs keep getting stolen from around the city, they said.
What is behind this spate of dog disappearances? The obvious reason is that they're expensive and can fetch a good price. A pedigreed labrador pup, for example, will sell for as much as Rs 18,000, while a pug — the breed made famous by the Hutch ad — will sell for upto Rs 25,000. A stolen pup will sell for about half as much, a neat sum. According to Gautam Barat, treasurer of the animal NGO Friendicoes, "Dogs nowadays are mostly stolen from areas like Gurgaon and Noida because it's easier to transport them out of the city from the suburbs."
He blames the thefts on the fact that the divide between the rich and the poor is getting wider, and that the people who live in the villages around which these satellite townships sprung up see the pedigreed dogs as valuable possessions which they can sell for a tidy profit if they can lay their hands on them."If a pup is stolen, it is sold," says Barat. "If an adult dog is stolen, he or she is crossed and the litter that ensues is sold."
The police response to the missing dogs is usually a curt "Should we look for missing dogs or missing persons?" This makes it difficult to put a finger on the exact number of thefts that have taken place so far. But dog lovers like Madhu Goyal — who helps find homes for lost and abandoned dogs — says she sends out four to five emails every month saying somebody has lost a dog. Other associations send out a similar number, say people in the industry. Shampa Dasgupta, who helps run happytails.com, a website that is involved in finding homes for dogs, says the gangs that steal dogs have done their homework. "A neighbourhood is first recced, and the dogs that are targeted are the ones that might be walked without a leash or one that might be walked by a domestic help who seems careless. Then the dog is snatched, usually by two men on a motorcycle."
Categories: Pets In News