Dog Theft? Not My Dog!
February 5, 2010
You’ve probably seen this–a yellow lab tied to the lamp post outside your local Starbuck’s or maybe a Pomeranian mix, with his adorable nose near the window crack as you put groceries into your adjacent car. What you were seeing was a dog theft waiting to happen, and your pet dog is at risk too!
The AKC reports that in 2009, dog theft increased by an alarming 30% over the previous year. And these numbers only reflect actual reported cases of dog theft. Countless dogs that go “missing” may in fact be unknown victims of theft.
These reports come from all around the country. In fact, some states’ legislatures are proposing bills that would make dog theft a felony. Many cite the economy and ruthless criminals who sell furry family members to the highest bidder. Many pet dogs are victims of dognappers who prey on the owner’s love and devotion to their dog and to the dog’s status as a family member. Whatever the reason, there are several things you should do to protect your pet dog from this fate. Some may seem obvious, but others may not. The following tips should be shared with family members and also with your pet sitter.
So, your pet dog is safe within your fenced yard. He can’t wander off and isn’t vulnerable, or so you think. Actually, pet dogs left unattended in yards are an easy mark for would-be thieves. Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard, especially if your yard is visible from the street.
Regardless of your pet dog’s obedience level, don’t let him off leash. Keep him close so he doesn’t wander off and catch the attention of thieves.
Be cautious with strangers who admire your pet dog and approach as you are walking her. Don’t answer queries about the price you paid for your dog and don’t divulge your address.
We all know it’s dangerous to leave our pet dog alone in a parked car for health reasons. But regardless of the temperature, and even if your car is locked, you are putting him at added danger of kidnapping or theft. It only takes that 5 minutes while you run into the dry cleaners, for an accomplished thief to break in and scoop up your beloved pet dog. Additionally, a thief who may break into your car only for other valuables, such your laptop or GPS system will allow your pup to get lose and run away.
Before taking your pup along with you, make sure you will be in situations where she can be with you at all times and make sure your pet sitter does the same. Choose pet-friendly stores and situations or leave her home where she is safe.
It’s also important to make sure that any pet services you use are reputable and are insured and bonded and make sure they practice the same rules for dog protection as you.
Some protection methods are really recovery methods, but ultimately the goal is protecting your pet dog from further danger. Protect your pet dog with microchip identification. If you suspect your dog was stolen, alert your microchip recovery service provider, animal control officers and local veterinarians. Report the theft to the police and make noise in your neighborhood about your pet dog’s disappearance with flyers and phone calls, And do it quickly, before the thief takes him too far away.
There is another way we can all help put a stop to this heinous crime. Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is no way to know where these poor pups came from and they may very well be stolen. Newspaper ads that offer dogs with re-homing fees are also suspect. Loving dog owners who have to give up their pet dogs will seek good homes without re-homing fees! If you are seeking a pet dog, go to a reputable rescue group or breeder.
For most of us, our pet dog is in many respects, like one of our children. He is beloved, irreplaceable, innocent and vulnerable. He requires the same diligent care that a young child does. It’s up to us to protect him in every way we can.
This article was written by Deborah Hughes, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Greater Wayne–East Morris. Deborah can be reached at 973-718-7075. Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States, serving 38 states and more than 2,000 cities and towns.