Like many people, Scott Routsong left home to go on vacation during the 4th of July holiday weekend. He left his two dogs — a Basset Hound and a Border Collie — in the care of his in-laws, like he had many times in the past.

On Saturday, July 2, the in-laws called Routsong to inform him that his 10-year-old Basset Hound, Molly, had gone missing.

Routsong said his dogs were kept inside during the day and family stopped by periodically to check on them and let them outside for about an hour at a time.

Known for her easy-going and friendly nature, Routsong believes Molly would have been easier to grab than the Border Collie, which he said would “raise Cain, bark and probably elude them.”

“In less than an hour after our in-laws let the animals out, when they came back to check on them, our dog was missing,” said Routsong.

Sue Miller and her husband called the Lowndes County Animal Shelter, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Humane Society and the Valdosta Police Department to report Routsong’s missing dog. They posted fliers at the animal facilities and around their neighborhood within 24 hours.

“We have a strong homeowners association and we all look out for one another, but a lot of people were out of town that weekend,” said Routsong. “I honestly think that somebody cases the neighborhoods to see who has what dogs and they went to the fence and we were unlucky enough to have one of our dogs snatched away.”

Valdosta Police Department Detective Steve Turnmeyer said that another incident of missing canines occurred over the holiday weekend. Two Pit Bull puppies were reported missing from the 600 block of Lee Street on Sunday, July 2.

“These incidents are something that has recently been kicked up. It’s especially unusual that a Basset Hound was involved, but Pit Bull puppies can be sold for $300 to $400,” said Turnmeyer. “I don’t understand why an individual would want a Basset Hound. There were no signs from the officer or the individual that reported the incident of the hound digging underneath the fence or the gate being unlocked.”

Turnmeyer recommended that pet owners have their dogs microchipped. He said that dogs should always wear tags that identify their owners. He also suggested that pet owners check fences and gates for stability to ensure that dogs are unable to escape on their own. Latches should also be installed on fences or gates in a way that makes it difficult for people to gain access from the outside.

“If this is something that is going on in the community, I just want other people to be aware so they can prevent this heartbreak from happening to them,” said Routsong.

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