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      PAWS shelter in Ft. Madison says pets are missing

      T here is some concern tonight in Southeast Iowa about pets that have gone missing. Family pets that includes dogs and cats are missing from fenced in back yards and those animals even had collars and were on a leash.

      " When times are tough there are people out there that will steal animals and sell them to brokers. Who in turn will sell them off for research or heaven forbid a dog fighting ring ," said PAWS shelter volunteer Sandy Brown.

      Brown says police and staff at the PAWS animal shelter in Fort Madison Iowa aren't sure if this is just pranks by local teenagers of if there's more of a sinister side to these missing animal cases.

      But Brown says it sure help to have your animal microchipped to help identify them.

      And she adds that you shouldn't wait for a week or ten days to call around to local animal shelters or animal control if your pet does go missing.

      " If your animal goes missing call the police or animal control immediately. Then go and look for your pet. It's better to get the information out right away. Then to go look for several hours or a couple of days then report your pet as missing or stolen ," said Brown.

      She also said they had a similar rash of missing pets several months ago. But that it was nothing like what they're seeing now. If you suspect something, you're asked to call your local police department and report as much information as you can.