On Guard!

Everybody tells you to be more careful when you go out shopping during the Holiday season, don’t they? Look under your vehicle. Don’t get into your car if there’s a van parked next to the driver’s door. Check the back floor to see if somebody is hiding back there. Put all your packages in the trunk-don’t leave anything out where people can see that you were out shopping. Get into your car, crank up, and leave-do NOT sit there making yourself a target for car jackers and kidnappers. Keep the gas tank FULL.If you have a flat tire, turn around and walk back into the store. Do not stand out there acting like a helpless fool-somebody might help-or they might just snatch you.

Oh, the hints and tips seem to be endless, don’t they? They’re good ones-but you’re busy, you forget, you’ve got a 100 things to do before you get home and cook dinner, and….

I’ll admit-I do what little I do online and have for years now. I just despise getting out in the crowds. Okay, maybe I’m being a Grinch, but it ruins my holiday spirit to see the commercialism and greed. If that’s not you, well go do your thing. The stores will be happy to see you. I’m decorating happily at home.

There’s another reason to be careful, though, and people with animals of all kinds need to be aware of it-theft and other criminal activity.

People steal dogs, cats. horses. and other livestock like crazy right about now-and they do it for two basic reasons. #1 To sell as Christmas gifts to ‘clients’ if you want to call them that. They’ll hear that somebody is looking for, let’s say,  a particular kind of pony for their grandchild. They’ll drive out and look around until they either find one in a pasture or see it advertised maybe in craigslist. Next thing you know, the pony has disappeared. It will be ‘sold’ a few times between traders just to have several bills of sale to hide the fact that it was stolen. Then it will be shown to the buyer who will gleefully buy that stolen pony never dreaming where it came from.

OR #2 This is primarily livestock-animals are stolen and taken to sales/auctions usually 50 or more miles away. Papers will be made up, and again, they’ll change hands a few times to hide where they came from. Only this time, when they load up, they truck them across the state lines or even the border to slaughterhouses. They’re paid by the pound for these animals and it is good money. Many of these people are financially well off.

Dogs and cats-depending on the circumstances-can be sold as pets or sold as bait animals in dog fighting rings or other cruel and illegal activities.

Your animals depend on YOU for their safety and well-being.  Make sure they are photographed for identification, you have records of all vet visits, and they are microchipped. Keep dogs and cats AT MINIMUM under your watchful eye if not actually in the house or barn. Patrol your property regularly and at odd times-never have a routine for thieves to anticipate. Check your fences.

And take time to meet the neighbors. It helps. If you aren’t home-they’ll be the ones to call 911. Make sure they know what normal is.