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Purrfect crime: Meet China’s 1st pet detective

Purrfect crime: Meet China’s 1st pet detective

DOGGED DETERMINATION Private sleuth Sun Jinrong uses detectors, tiny surveillance cameras and a blow dart loaded with a tranquilizer to find missing pets. Running a company of 10 employees and based in Shanghai, he boasts a success rate of 60 to 70 percent. — AFP

BEIJING—Private sleuth Sun Jinrong brings heat detectors, tiny surveillance cameras, and a blow dart loaded with a tranquilizer to his search for one desperate client’s missing loved one: A cat named Duoduo.

Unlike Jim Carrey’s goofy Ace Ventura character, the man dubbed by China’s media as the nation’s first pet detective is a stoney-faced animal lover who solves cases with the help of high-tech gear worth thousands of dollars.

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With dogged determination, Sun has reunited around 1,000 missing pets with their owners since he launched his business seven years ago.

Clients pay 8,000 yuan ($1,130) for the service provided by his company, which has 10 employees and is based in the eastern city of Shanghai.

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Sun often gets calls from anguished pet owners in the middle of the night and rushes to cities and towns across the nation to help.

Success rate

Dog ownership was banned as bourgeois vanity under Chairman Mao Zedong, but Chinese society’s views of pets have changed and there are now 91.5 million cats and dogs in the country, according to Pet Fair Asia and pet website Goumin. com.

Sun says pets are sometimes stolen rather than lost, and dogs are occasionally sold for their meat.

He boasts a success rate of around 60-70 percent.

But could he find Duoduo?

The owner, Li Hongtao, hired Sun to come to Beijing and find his much-loved cat.

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The British shorthair had last been seen in an underground garage two days before the search, reducing the chances of finding him.

Big clue

“He’s family to me,” Li explains.

Sun set right to work, unpacking a 50-kilogram black suitcase containing three thermal imaging cameras, an endoscope and a hand-held machine used to detect life under the rubble after earthquakes.

The eagle-eyed detective then finds a big clue: Paw prints on dusty pipes, leading him to determine Duoduo fled into a nearby grassy area outside.

To lure the cat, a speaker hanging from Sun’s suitcase blares the recorded voice of his owner.

Sun and his assistant, Huang Yan, also place Duoduo’s favorite cat food inside a grass-colored cage with a trap door.

At around midnight, as he waits for any sign of Duoduo, a figure flashes across the monitor.

Agonizing wait

Huang and Sun scan the area and see the cat in the bushes. He opts not to use the blow dart, instead he phones the cat’s owner, Li, who can barely contain his excitement when he arrives and sees Duoduo.

Li calls to him but the stressed pet wouldn’t budge.

After 10 agonizing minutes, Li approaches Duoduo and grabs his cat.

“Let’s go home!” Li told Duoduo, stroking the prodigal cat’s fur.

Those are some of Sun’s favorite words. “When our case is solved, it’s basically a reunion,” he muses, adding: “It’s a happy moment.”—AFP

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