BUNCHERS are people who gather free pets until they have enough for a trip to a class B dealer who is licensed by the USDA to sell the animals to “random sources” for research. Posing as part of a caring family, the buncher may even take a child, or an older person posing as the sweet and kindly “grandparent” with him or her when picking up a free animal. Bunchers often clear out entire neighborhoods, then transport the animals across several states to avoid detection, although some animals are sold locally. Animals are also stolen during burglaries, as well as from cars, sidewalks, and shopping areas.
“Free to a good home” newspaper ads or flyers are a way for bunchers to obtain animals.
Protecting Your Companion Pet
There are several steps that guardians can take to prevent the theft of their animal companions. Most importantly, don’t leave animals unattended in the car or yard, and don’t let them run loose. Make sure that they are wearing tags with your name, current address, and telephone number on them. Have dogs microchipped. If your animal is missing, contact your local Animal Control, newspaper, and radio stations, and put up posters on public bulletin boards. Call area veterinarians and humane societies and give them a description of your animal. Most of them keep a book of lost and found reports.
If you have to place your animal up for adoption, ask lots of questions, ask for a veterinary reference, and a small adoption fee. Anyone who is truely looking for a family pet will not be offended. They will respect you for caring about the animal.