Pet owners beware
I'd like to respond to pet owners who are missing their pets.
Yes, there are people around who will steal your pets. They love purebred and small animals of any kind. It doesn't matter whether they are spayed, neutered or not fixed at all.
These people are called "lumpers" or "bunchers." They normally sell the animals to laboratories. There is one man from Arkansas, licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who goes to Poplar Bluff and other towns and will buy the dogs from anyone, no questions asked. He then in turn sells the animals to the labs for a handsome profit. Now is the perfect time for this to happen.
Owners, beware! Your pet can be stolen out of your front yard. Never put your animals out where you can't see them and don't let them just "run to the bathroom real quick." It only takes five seconds to pick up an animal and be gone. Also, if you see a strange van driving in your neighborhood, or any strange vehicle for that matter, and the driver looks like he or she could be looking for something, call your police department.
There is a string of lumpers or bunches that go all the way from Chicago, Ill., to Mississippi. These people do this for a living. I know, as a pet owner and as director of the Humane Society, how devastating the loss of a pet can be. I've been there personally and go through it daily at the shelter.
The sad thing is, unless someone can prove the dog the person has is stolen or taken under false pretense, there is nothing that can be done other than write your congressmen, senators and state representatives to change the law that allows people to get a license for this sort of thing.
Also, as soon as you find your pet missing, call the shelter, give them a description (and picture, if possible) of your pet. We get animals in daily, and what an owner describes their beloved pet as and what breed we see in the animal may be two different things. If your pet comes home, please call and let us know, as we have lots of missing pet reports and the fewer we have to worry about, the better. Always come and look. Don't take anyone's word for it that your pet is not here.
If you have any questions about lumpers or bunchers, get on the Internet. It will tell you about it.
Most of all, write letters to your congressmen and the USDA complaining of this practice. If we get a letter campaign going, they have to at least consider us. After all, we do vote for them.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the shelter at 471-4801. I will help you in any way I can.
Gabby Evans, Executive Director
Sikeston Bootheel Humane Society