How To Protect Your Dog From Being Stolen
Dognapping may not be at the top of your list of concerns, but unfortunately, it’s a phenomenon that’s on the rise. The American Kennel Club estimates that pet theft increased 28 percent from 2012 to 2013 alone.
Dogs can be stolen for a number of reasons. Purebreds may be sold to pet stores, puppy mills, or breeders. Smaller dogs may be used as bait for dog fighting rings. And some dogs are even taken for their fur.
So what can you do to help prevent your dog from being stolen and suffering these possible fates?
Why are pets stolen?
Besides beint sold to research labs or pet stores, they are used in bait and for dog fighting rings, in puppy mills to breders, for fur (yes fur!), as breeding parnters for dogs, and by sadistic individuals.
Here are the steps you can take to keep your best friend safe.
- Keep your dog on a leash
Off-leash dogs are more likely to be a target for thieves. It’s much easier to take a dog that’s wandering around on its own — even under your supervision — than one that’s physically attached to you by a leash.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended outdoors
Unfortunately, a fence is not enough to deter thieves, so the safest place to leave you dog when you’re not home is indoors. This is especially true if your yard is visible from the street.
- Lock your gate
If you must leave your dog in the yard, you can make it more difficult for her to be stolen by ensuring your gate is always locked. And avoid signs like “Warning: Mastiffs” because it may actually draw the attention of those seeking a particular breed.
- Be wary of strangers too interested in your dog
Most of us love sharing details about our pups, but don’t share detailed information about your dog’s breeding, cost, or where you live.
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the car
Not only is there a risk of overheating — temperatures rise much faster in an enclosed car than outdoors — but it may also attract pet thieves. Additionally, you run the risk of someone trying to steal another valuable item, such as your GPS unit or purse, and then allowing your dog to escape.
- Don’t tie your dog up outside a store
Your dog will be vulnerable to potential thieves, particularly if you frequent a location often. Instead, stick to only dog-friendly locations or take someone along with you who can keep your dog company while you go inside.
- Get a microchip
That dog tag isn’t enough. It can easily be removed by someone with bad intentions. But an up-to-date microchip can provide absolute proof of ownership, and it is standard procedure for shelters and veterinarians to scan for a microchip upon receiving new dogs or new canine patients. Having your dog microchipped greatly increases the chances of a reunion. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Lord et al, July 15, 2009), dogs with microchips were returned to their owners over 52 percent of the time, as opposed to less than 22 percent for dogs without microchips.
If the worst happens
- If your dog is lost or suspected stolen, it is important to act quickly.
- Report the loss to your local council’s Dog Warden and those in all other neighbouring local authorities.
- Visit places where dog walkers go such as local parks and public places and talk to people, asking them to keep an eye open for your dog.
- If you believe your pet has been stolen, report it to the police and insist it is recorded as a theft and
not a lost animal.
- Report the loss/theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.
- Make posters and display them in areas local to your home and also in relevant places such as vets, local parks etc. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances.
- Make sure local vets are aware in case someone takes your dog in for treatment.
- Report the loss on as many as possible of the missing animals websites – there is no single national missing animals database, so you will have to place the same information on all of them to ensure a widespread appeal.
- Contact local animal shelters and rescue charities and send them
posters to display.