Dog Theft on the Rise

The American Kennel Club offers tips to protect your dog from being stolen.

Posted: April 24, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

The American Kennel Club is warning pet owners and breeders about an alarming rise in the number of dog thefts in recent months. From parking lots to pet stores and even backyards, more dogs are disappearing. In the first three months of 2008, the AKC reports they've tracked more than 30 thefts from news and customer reports, compared to only ten for all twelve months of 2007.

Media reports have chronicled the escalation of these dognappings from all around the country. Incidents have included armed robbers entering a dog breeder’s home, tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores, and most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and even shelters.

“The value of pets in people’s lives has been on the rise for a long time, and now we are seeing thieves trying to capitalize on this,” says AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “Whether they seek to resell the dog, collect a ransom or breed the dogs and sell their offspring, thieves seem to be attuned to the increased financial and emotional value pets have in our lives. Losing a treasured family pet is devastating to the owner.”

The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your dog from being targeted:

At home
Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard. Dogs left outdoors when no one is home for long periods of time can be potential targets, especially if you live in a rural area and the fenced-in yard or dog runs are visible from the street.

Keep purchase price to yourself. If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

Breeders, be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers. Criminals posing as would-be puppy buyers have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves have targeted young puppies of these coveted breeds.

On the road
Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked. Even if you are gone for only a moment, an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble. Also leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only invite thieves to break in and possibly allow the dog to escape.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store. This popular practice among city-dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to go shopping, consider leaving the dog at home or with a friend.

One step further
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. Several pets have been recovered because of alert people scanning and discovering microchips.

If you suspect your dog has been stolen, immediately call the police or animal control 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 dog goes missing.


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Bobbi   somewhere, IN

6/2/2008 8:40:24 PM

I almost fell victim to dog theft just today, and right out of my own backyeard, and my english mastiff was growling and barking but the stranger was still brave enough to try and take his collar off, we heard the commotion and the man saw us and ran off, and just 2 days ago, someone tried to kick in my back door unsucessfuly. My dog has been targeted and now I KNOW that it is becuase of ME! I was walking him frequently, and the proud owner I am, I would brag about him to anyone who stopped me on my way. One man in particular, acually asked me where I lived which immediatly set off alarm bells in my head, and I didnt tell him, but not long after he seen me going to my house. Now i dont know what to do, I am afraid that if I leave my mastiff in the house while I am gone, there will be a break in, if I take him, my car may be broke into, heis registered and has tags, and we are looking into microchipping, but theifs arent stupid and there are ways they can get around this. I dont know if there already is such a thing, but what I think would be great is an implanted chip that can be TRACKED. Just because there is a regular microchip in place doesnt mean the dog will ever be in a situation were the ear will be scanned. It is easy to make the mistake and get your dog targeted, and is not an easy thing to fix!

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Sophie Hightower   Noneya, NY

5/23/2008 2:33:56 PM

Really, If ppl love their dogs so much, then they would already know this kinda stuff second nature, i mean think about it, do parents just leave kids unattended for hours? No! Do parents leave their kids Outside a mall! No! Its dangerous, this article was unnecessary, ppl should know this stuff! Anyhow, no point in warning ppl about it, its only their fault when their dogs get stolen, maybe they'll learn a lesson

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Pat   San Angelo, TX

4/24/2008 9:49:42 PM

This is a valuable article. A dog belonging to a friend of ours was stolen from her back yard while she was at work. She, along with many other people I would bet, had never considered that something like that would ever happen. Thanks for making people aware of this unfortunate possibility.

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Liza   Grand Bay-Westfield, NB

4/24/2008 10:16:27 AM

The thought of someone taking my dog from me scares me to death!! We have a Heinz 57 dog. I know that his mom has German Shepherd in her and his Dad has Husky in him. He looks purebred German Shepherd and pretty much everyone I run into asks me where I got the beautiful Shepherd. I always tell them he's not pure and we got him from a farm for free. We have a fenced in back yard where he loves to be most of the time but, sometimes I wonder if someone would try to snatch him because he looks so pure.

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