Every day we take precautions to protect ourselves from becoming victims of theft. We lock our cars and alarm our homes when we leave them. We secure valuable documents and jewelry in safes or safety deposit boxes.
Despite these precautions, many people don’t realize that protecting their canine family members from theft is equally as important. Millions of pets are stolen every year.
February 14th is Pet Theft Awareness Day. This is an excellent time to give some useful tips on how you can prevent your dog from becoming a statistic.
Make sure your dog is microchipped and keep all information in the microchip database current. Not only is this crucial to the safe return of a lost pet, but an up-to-date microchip also provides proof of ownership.
Do not leave your dog outdoors when you are not at home. Even if you have a fenced in yard, it takes just a minute for a thief to steal your beloved dog.
Never let your dog roam free in the neighborhood.
In addition to microchipping, keep a collar and identification tag on your pet.
Your pet should also have a current registration tag.
Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop, restaurant, or other public location even if you intend to run in for a minute. A minute is all it takes for a thief to grab your dog.
Play it safe and stick to dog-friendly shops. If that’s not possible, bring a friend who can wait with your dog while you run inside to do an errand.
Report unusual activity in your neighborhood to police. If there are missing pets, alert your local police and animal control officer immediately.
Spaying and neutering your pets not only helps with the severe pet overpopulation problem, but it also helps keep your pets closer to home.
Pets who have been spayed or neutered may be less likely to wander.
If your dog spends time in your yard, even with you watching him, make sure that your fence is securely locked. It is just one extra deterrent to a would-be dog thief.
You may think you have done all the right things. It’s not too hot or too cold outside. You crack the windows, lock the car, and stop for a quick errand on the ride home from the dog park.
However, the short time you leave your dog unattended is enough time for a determined dog thief to break into your car and snatch your furry friend.
Keep recent photographs and written descriptions of your pets in a place where you can easily access them.
Make sure to take clear photos from different angles. Note any unusual or distinguishing markings.
Keep several photos of you with your dog. All of these can be used to show proof that you are the pet’s owner. They can also come in handy if you ever have to make lost or missing dog signs.
Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside your yard. If your yard is not fenced in, keep your dog leashed whenever you are outside. Vary the times and routes of your walks. Potential dognappers will be less likely to learn your schedule.
Unfortunately, even the most vigilant of dog owners can become victims of pet theft. If you suspect that your dog has been stolen, act immediately.
- Contact your local police and animal control officer.
- Request that they list your dog in the “stolen article” category on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
- Post fliers with recent photos of your dog.
- Speak to people in your neighborhood and ask if they have noticed unusual people or activity.
- Report any unusual activity to local police.
- Share recent pictures of your pet with your local television station and newspaper and ask that they please highlight the information