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D.C. dog's disappearance prompts PETA call to action

Thursday - 8/2/2012, 6:18am  ET

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The disappearance of a dog named Snoopy has prompted a discussion and a warning about leaving pets tied up outside stores and restaurants.

The 17-year-old dog went missing this week outside a Whole Foods store in the District's Logan Circle neighborhood.

The area of Northwest centered around P Street is a popular place for pet lovers, and it's not uncommon to see dogs tied to a pole while their owners run a quick errand.

But after Snoopy's disappearance, PETA sent out an advisory saying the practice of leaving dogs tied up is "inviting tragedy."

"Even one time is too many times," says Colleen O'Brien, a PETA spokesperson. "Thieves only need one minute, but the loss of an animal companion lasts a lifetime."

It's not clear that the dog was stolen. O'Brien says the "how" question isn't the heart of the issue.

"Whether someone has stolen the animal or the animal simply gets spooked and runs away, it's just really not worth the risk [to leave it tied alone]," she says.

PETA suggests pet owners take a friend along if they need to run errands, leaving the dog with someone they trust.

If that's not possible, the organization recommends making the extra trip home to ensure the dog is in a safe place.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)