By Lacee-Ann Froeschl
A concerned member of the public has taken to social media to raise the issue of a “paint tag” found on a Sunshine Coast footpath that resembles a dog paw.
People online are suggesting these tags are a simple scare from children or council markings, while others are claiming they are marks used by dog thieves.
Professional dog minder Nic Ryan said it was not fair that people go straight to social media and raise instant fear among the community.
“It can be extremely dangerous,” she said.
“Being a dog minder, lover and owner has made me really passionate and if I was to jump the gun and believe that anything was posted up like that as true, I’d live in a state of fear for my animals 24 hours, seven days a week.”
Sunshine Coast Council spokesman Paul Munnings said council were aware of this issue but wanted to reassure people that the markings did not necessarily resemble criminal activities.
“Markings on footpaths can be made by a number of organisations, including Council, Unitywater and other service providers as part of their work,” he said.
“There is no evidence to suggest they are anything untoward.”
The issue has also been reported to police.
Nambour Police Sergeant Nathan Richards said there has not been alarming numbers of “dog stealers” in recent months so worrying was not necessary.
“It’s like an urban myth,” he said.
“We don’t hear many cases of dogs being stolen and tags being present.
“Although it does happen, it’s most likely council or surveyors marking spots for future developments.”
Council have a mobile app called “Snap Send Solve” that is available to the public to report issues of concern to the council.
Ms Ryan calls for the community to use this service to report an issue rather than cause fear online.
“People posting these things on social media without an answer are just projecting too much fear among the community,” she said.