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Dog thieves are dying, shaving fur so owners and cops can’t sniff them out

Dog thieves are dying, shaving fur so owners and cops can't sniff them out

These crooks are real sick puppies.

Thieves in Connecticut have been stealing dogs and altering the pups’ appearances by dyeing and shaving their fur so owners and cops won’t be able to sniff them out, according to a missing pet group.

During a four-day period in mid-April, at least three pooches were found with the unwelcome new looks — including one with a bizarre purple coat and another whose fluffy fur was buzzed off, volunteers at CT Dog Gone Recovery told The Post.

“They’re purposely disguising them so they can keep the dog or sell it for profit,” said Donna Russo,  a volunteer for the group, who worked on a case involving a missing French Bulldog.

“It’s heartbreaking enough to lose your dog — and then owners have to search for a pet with an entirely different appearance.”

An 8-year-old Shih Tzu mix named Marcus was died purple. CT Dog Gone Recovery
Marcus was beige and brown before he went missing. CT Dog Gone Recovery

The mutt-centric makeovers make it easier for thieves to resell expensive breeds online and harder for owners to find their missing pets via descriptions on fliers and social media, pet advocates from the group said.

Dogs who got the new hair-dos include a shy 8-year-old Shih Tzu mix named Marcus, whose beige and brown coat had been dyed dark violet when his owner got him back in New Haven on April 24.

“His owner got a call from a woman who said she had his dog. He went to get it back, and it was purple. He was shocked,” said Melanie Heltke, a CT Dog Gone Recovery volunteer who worked on the case.

Mocho, an adorable 3-year-old Frenchie, was also found with her tan patches dyed black on April 21 after going missing for more than a month in the Hartford area.

“He looked totally different,” said Russo. “If I saw pictures of him,  I would have said, ‘Oh it’s not the same dog. He doesn’t have same coloring.’”

Someone died Mocho the Frenchie’s tan patches black. CT Dog Gone Recovery
The dog’s dye-job were likely meant to throw her owner off. CT Dog Gone Recovery

Russo said the man who took the dog may have set her free once he realized she was spayed and couldn’t be used for breeding.

The wildly trendy breed can fetch up to $3,000 per pet and has been linked to a slew of recent crime, including dog-nappings and heists.

A second missing Shih Tzu, a 5-year-old with fluffy hair, was found shaven in the Bridgeport area on April 22.

To reunite with their four-legged friends, owners looked at “found dog” photos matching their pet’s breed, sent in by people who had seen “lost dog” fliers posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Russo first encountered an appearance-altered missing dog in June 2021, when a white Shih Tzu mix was recovered with red fur, she said.

The owner scrubbed down her pup with baking soda in an attempt to remove the dye, but it remained for weeks.

A Shih Tzu mix was found dyed red in Connecticut in 2021. CT Dog Gone Recovery
The dog was white before she went missing. CT Dog Gone Recovery

Owners should microchip their dogs to help identify them, should they go missing, pet advocates from CT Dog Gone Recovery said.

On its Facebook page, the group warned that dogs’ looks had been “changed by adding patches, eyebrows and alterations using dies and trimming.”

If your dog is an expensive breed, it’s also smart to be cautious about leaving them alone — even in your own backyard, the pet advocates said.

“Number one don’t leave your dog unattended,” Heltke said.

New Haven Police Officer Christian Bruckhart said the department was not aware of Marcus’s case, according to CT Insider, which was first to report the dog-altering trend.

Of the 962 missing dog cases the group worked last year, 830 — or about 86 % — were found, Russo said.

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