Michelle Kimball didn’t think anything of it when a stranger wanted to pet her dog. After all, who wouldn’t fall in love with Nilla, the German Shepherd? The man even wanted to take a picture to show his friends, but hours later, Kimball realized something wasn’t right.
She got strange text messages from an unknown number, which turned out to be a man who met her dog. It also wasn’t the last time that something like this has happened to her. The experience shocked her, so she’s now warning other dog parents to be careful and not put too much information on their dog tags.
Friendly Encounter Turns Creepy
The man who took a picture of Kimball’s dog seemed kind and friendly, but things quickly took a dark turn. When Kimball received an unfamiliar text message, she immediately asked who it was. They said, “Oh, I got it off your dog’s collar.”
Kimball couldn’t believe someone would go that far to ask her out. But then, she received another text from someone else who remembered her number from her dog’s collar. They also claimed to know her address too.
As it turns out, this issue is fairly common. Another woman named Shay Grayson said the same thing happened to her while she was walking her Maltese. When she realized the person was taking a photo of the address on the tag and not the dog, she demanded that the person delete the image.
“My home could be broken into. Or whenever I took my dog out one day, he could be out there to either kidnap my dog or to do something to me. There were so many things that could happen with him having my address,” Grayson said.
Experts Warn Dog Parents
Kimball turned to news channels and TikTok to share her story and warn others. Safety expert Barb Jordan explains that it’s common for predators to use dogs to get closer to people. She recommends only putting a phone number on a dog tag and never an address.
“We never think that people are going to be using our dogs to get close to us. But predators, they have no limits. They have no boundaries,” Jordan said.
Some experts also suggest microchipping your pet and then writing, “I’m microchipped” on the tag. That way, people have to go to a vet or shelter to access your information. Of course, having contact information on the tag can be beneficial, but it can also be dangerous.
Predators will even use other people’s dogs in dating profiles to attract more women. Some go as far as to borrow dogs on walks. So, even if someone else seems trustworthy, it’s best to be cautious.