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Stolen Dogs Found in Lab; How to Protect Your Pets

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You're out for a walk with your dog when two men suddenly appear and grab him before you have a chance to react. In an instant, your canine companion is gone. Then—as if that weren't horrifying enough—you later learn that your beloved friend is caged in a medical school laboratory, slated to be cut open and killed in a training exercise.It's every animal guardian's worst nightmare, and it allegedly happened recently to Carmen Valverde of Lima, Peru, and her dog, Tomas.

After Tomas was stolen, a neighbor of Carmen's who works at the teaching hospital in the University of San Marcos recognized him while looking in the surgery room in which the school routinely dissects dogs.

The neighbor alerted Carmen and, wearing a lab coat, Carmen was able to sneak into the facility at the university and rescue Tomas, who was already sedated and strapped down for dissection.

While the school claims that it only dissects "dogs [who] don't have owners," after Tomas' story was made public, at least one other guardian found her missing dog in the same laboratory.

We're following this case and will keep you posted on any developments.

This problem isn't limited to Peru. Animals suffer in laboratories no matter where they come from, but laboratories that are willing to pay for animals provide an incentive for unscrupulous people to get animals wherever they can—often from our streets and yards. "Bunchers" may drug animals, pose as animal control officers, or answer "free to a good home" ads to get puppies and kittens to sell.

You can help end this nightmare by doing the following:

-- Never give animals away "free to a good home."
-- Never allow animals outside without supervision.
-- Persuade schools to replace training on animals with superior non-animal methods.


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