Examples: [Collected via Facebook, February 2015]
[Collected via e-mail, March 2013]
Keep your eye out for small coloured STICKERS on gates or doors, gangs are marking how many dogs live there to steal and they are using them for DOG BAIT FOR FIGHTING.
Ring the police immediately if you see any and inform the home owners.
Remove the stickers immediately!
Red stickers are for big dogs
Yellow for medium and
Pink for small breeds
Please re-share and keep your dog safe!
This is already happening in the Goole Yorkshire area, UK and could be spreading across the country. This is disgusting
Origins: This warning about dog-snatchers tagging homes with colored stickers to facilitate the stealing of canines for use in dogfighting events was originally circulated in the suburbs of Perth, Australia, in February 2013 before being relocated to a UK setting the following month. Officials in the former area quickly got out the word that this warning was a hoax:
Family pets have been systematically stolen from their yards to be trained as fighting dogs, according to reports appearing on social media and online classified websites.
While many in Perth claim to know somebody who knows somebody whose pet has fallen prey to a kidnapping, authorities and social media experts have dismissed the warnings as a viral hoax.
Animal welfare authorities in Perth, who have been inundated with phone calls since the messages started to appear, said the warnings were "completely unfounded."
"It's a viral hoax," RSPCA spokesman Tim Mayne told Fairfax Media. "Police and the RSPCA have no solid evidence on this at all.
"We've been monitoring this situation and still, to the best of our knowledge, it's a viral hoax."
Curtin University internet studies lecturer and social media expert Tama Leaver said the lack of specific details in the messages was a dead giveaway for a viral hoax.
"If people were really trying to stop something there would be specific details about it and who they could contact," he said.
He said the messages were so vague they had managed to cover "the entire spectrum of Perth".
"If something like that is appearing for two weeks and there's no official information released whatsoever — there's no police follow up — and there's no evidence of an actual fight, you'd have to question it," he said.
A local officer who was called by concerned residents, has enlisted the advice of a local tyre fitter to prove that marks left on vehicle tyres are not the work of dog-nappers.
Rumours have been circulating on social media sites that dog thieves have been placing stickers on vehicle tyres to mark the homes of dog owners, ready for them to go back and steal the dogs. This is not the case.
The red and yellow dots seen on tyres are placed there by tyre manufacturers. The red dot denotes the heaviest part of the tyre and a yellow dot denotes the lightest. They are not the work of dog thieves.
Michael Burdis is NOT in any way a Volunteer for Scruples or in any way associated with our Rescue. He wrote on our Facebook page last week
All our Volunteers are very strictly vetted and home checked and Scruples Whippet Rescue will not have, and never have had anything to do with anyone involved in the barbaric illegal activity that is dog fighting.
We are very concerned that this badly worded statement that has been written by someone unknown to Scruples is making people believe that we are involved with Michael and his activities and we are asking all Facebook groups to delete the incorrect post and post and share this statement instead.
The rumor traveled to the U.S. in early 2015, when it emerged in the form of a warning involving plastic bags tied to trees as a harbinger of dognappers. According to the rumor (circulated widely on Facebook), criminals marked dog-owning homes by tying grocery bags to trees so pets could later be kidnapped for dogfighting rings. There was no explanation of how those who became wise to the purported ruse managed to differentiate bags purposefully tied to trees for signaling from discarded grocery bags that coincidentally came to rest among the branches after being blown about by wind. And as with prior variations, no instances in which pets were abducted were tied to plastic bags mysteriously found in trees prior to their disappearances.
As noted in our article about a similar putative home-marking scheme, there's no practical reason for persons seeking to perpetrate crimes against property to surreptitiously mark the homes of their intended victims rather than simply recording the addresses of those homes.
Last updated: 24 February 2015