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Outline
Message circulating via social media posts and the blogosphere warn dog owners that a dog fighting gang is stealing dogs from households around Goole, Yorkshire and other areas of the UK. According to the posts, gang members are marking houses where dogs live with coloured stickers so that the dogs can be later stolen.
Goole Dogs Hoax

© Depositphotos.com/Lilun_Li

Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are false. The message is nothing more that a mutated version of an earlier hoax that claimed that such a dog stealing ring was operating in Perth, Western Australia. Humberside Police have issued a statement denying any knowledge of such crimes. There is no credible evidence to support the claims in the warning. Spreading false information such as this serves only to raise unfounded fear and alarm in communities. Please do not share this message with others and please let the sender know that the message is a hoax.

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Example

IMPORTANT... MUST READ! PLEASE SHARE THIS. Any dog owners beware, leaflet droppers or anyone walking around housing estates. Keep your eye out for small colored STICKERS on gates or doors, gangs are marking how many dogs live there to steal and they are using them for DOG BAIT FOR FIGHTING. Ring the police immediately if you see any and inform the home owners. Remove the stickers immediately! Red stickers are for big dogs Yellow for medium and Pink for small breeds. Please re-share and keep your dogs safe!

This is already happening in the Goole Yorkshire area, UK and could be spreading across the country. This is disgusting!


Detailed Analysis
According to a message that is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook and other social networks, as well as blogs and forums, a heinous dog fighting gang is stealing dogs from households around the Goole area of Yorkshire, UK. The message also claims that the criminal activity described might be spreading to other areas of the UK. The message claims that gang members are taking dogs of all sizes and breeds to be used as bait at dog fighting events. The message also warns that gang members posing as leaflet deliverers or walkers are marking properties that have suitable dogs with coloured stickers so that they can come back later and steal the animals. Supposedly, red stickers are for large dogs, yellow for medium sized dogs and pink for small dogs. The warnings advise residents to call police if they see the stickers and remove the stickers immediately.

However, the message is a hoax and should not be taken seriously. In fact, as the following example shows, the message is stolen verbatim from an earlier hoax that claimed that such dog stealing activities were taking place in Perth, Western Australia. The original Perth version has been dismissed as a hoax by both police and animal welfare organizations.

MPORTANT... MUST READ! PLEASE SHARE THIS.

Any Perth dog owners beware, leaflet droppers or anyone walking around housing estates.
Keep your eye out for small colored STICKERS on gates or doors, gangs are marking how many dogs live there to steal and they are using them for DOG BAIT FOR FIGHTING.
Ring the police immediately if you see any and inform the home owners. Remove the stickers immediately!
Red stickers are for big dogs
... Yellow for medium and
Pink for small breeds.
Please re-share and keep your dogs safe!

Clearly, the perpetrator of the UK version of the hoax has simply removed references to Perth contained in the original version and tacked on the misinformation about Goole Yorkshire. The fact that the would-be warning is an exact copy of another hoax set in a city thousands of kilometers away from Goole Yorkshire cast immediate doubt on its veracity.

And, as with the Perth version, there is no credible evidence to support the claims in the warning message. According to the Hoax-Slayer - New Articles 3

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