Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Debunking dog fighting myths

RSPCA NSW is asking pet owners around the state to remain vigilant against dog fighting rings, but also to be aware of common hoaxes being disseminated, especially via social media.

“Every day we seem to receive a question about dog fighting in an area of Sydney or NSW,” said David OShannessy, RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector.

“Many of these are well known hoaxes that have been created by and continue to be circulated via social media. We are not saying that dog fighting doesn’t happen, or that it isn’t happening, we’re just asking members of the community to be vigilant and recognise hoaxes,” OShannessy added.

Hoax One: Dell Schanze
This hoax message circulating online, mainly via Facebook, claims a man called Dell Schanze is stealing dogs for the purposes of fighting. Mr Schanze is a real person, living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there has been no evidence to link him with dog fighting. His image has been used to spread fear among pet owners in many countries, including Australia.

Hoax Two: Fence Tagging/Marking
This hoax claims that criminals are marking the fences of pet owners with either ribbon or other means as a way of identifying properties with dogs that they can come back and steal at a later date. This hoax started in Perth in 2013, with different coloured ribbon reportedly being used to identify different breeds of dog. A week after appearing in Perth, this hoax appeared in England followed by properties in Scotland.

Dog fighting rings are real and dogs are stolen to be used in such rings. So all dog owners should always be aware of this and follow sensible cautionary advice. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe:

  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in public – even if just for a few minutes
  • Secure your yard – make sure your dog can’t escape from your yard by digging, through holes in fences or via gates
  • Keep microchip information up to date – ensure that your dog has an implanted microchip, that it is registered with your local council and that you keep all relevant information up-to-date
  • Ensure your dog has identification – a tag with basic contact details on it will let someone who finds your dog know who its owner is and provide an easy way for them to get in touch with you to return it

RSPCA NSW encourages anyone with any information pertaining to dog fighting rings to contact 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589) or local Police.

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