When you think of a missing dog, the first thing that usually comes to mind is that the pup simply wandered away, and hopefully will return on its own very soon. What most people don’t assume is that there are criminals who focus all of their attention on the business of dog-napping and reselling pets. And these criminals are either getting more daring with their kidnapping, or more criminals are starting to follow the trend, as the American Kennel Club is reporting that dog theft cases have increased by at least 32% since last year.
The reason we say at least 32% is that most dog thefts are not reported, and sometimes pet owners simply assume that their beloved pet wandered away. However, Lisa Peterson, spokeswoman for AKC, says that dogs, especially large breeds such as pit bulls, are purposely stolen in the hopes of pawning them for some cash, whether it be to other would-be pet owners, laboratories for experimentation, or dog fighting rings.
“Some are taken out of homes, some are taken out of cars, some are taken out of pet stores,” Peterson said. “I’ve even seen some taken out of a child’s arms on a park bench.”
So what can you do to protect your “best friend” from these dog-napping criminals?
Here are some tips from the AKC:
- Don’t let your dog off-leash or unattended in your yard. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. A Saint Bernard that had wandered away from his owner in Nebraska was snatched up right off the road.
- Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves posing as would-be “puppy buyers” have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away.
On the Road
- Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked.
- Don’t tie your dog outside a store. This popular practice among city-dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. Reports have surfaced of such thefts in Manhattan.
- Be vigilant. Always remain aware of your surroundings when entering or leaving any dog-friendly establishments.
- Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. For more information and to enroll your pet in a 24 hour recovery service visit www.akccar.org.
- If you suspect your dog has been stolen - immediately call the police / animal control and pet shelters in the area your pet was last seen.
- Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing. Keep a photo of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing.
The AKC recommends a microchip ID implant to identify your dog in case it is found, however, we urge our readers to also take additional preventative measures and use a GPS tracking collar to ensure its safety and locate the pup before thieves get a chance to snatch it up.