Sadly, dog theft is on the rise. Let’s talk about how to prevent dog theft, and what to do if it happens to you.
Why are So Many Dogs Being Stolen?
This is awful to imagine, but it happens more often than we’d like to think. There’s an estimated 2 million pets—both cats and dogs—stolen each year. And these numbers just continue to increase. Sadly, the reason always comes back to greed.
Someone who steals a cat or dog is typically trying to make a profit. This can happen by using non-neutered and non-spayed dogs in puppy mills, or even using certain dogs in fighting rings. And the more expensive breeds will typically just be resold.
What to Do if Someone Steals Your Dog
If you believe your dog has been stolen, here are 6 steps you should take right away. We want to help you have the best chances of being reunited with your precious fur baby.
1. Call the Police
As with any crime, you should immediately call the police. Tell them any information you know of and can remember. They will create a report so you have a record of the time and place your pet was taken—making it easier to retrieve your pet.
2. Contact Your Neighbors
Check with your neighbors and ask if they’ve seen anything. Ask them to keep an eye out, or help you search for your pet. And if you’re concerned about a neighbor being the one who stole your pet—it may be better to bring the police with you to confront them, in case things get heated.
3. Enter the Details of Your Pet on Pet Loss Websites
There are websites that specifically help with pet loss. They are connected with shelters, and will send an alert to them about your pet. Some examples are: LostMyDoggie.com, PetFBI.com, and AKCreunite.com.
4. Call Your Local Shelters and Veterinarians
Always check with local shelters, animal rescues, and humane societies. If someone finds your dog, they may turn them into one of these locations. And sometimes this will happen with veterinarians too.
5. Post Flyers & Post on Social Media
Flyers may seem old school, but they are something visual that will catch people’s attention. Even if your dog was stolen, someone in your area may recognize your dog with the thief.
And all of your friends, family, and community will see your posts on Facebook and Instagram. But you may want to avoid mentioning that your pet was stolen, in case the thief or even a helpful bystander gets nervous about coming forward.
6. Contact Local News Outlets and Radio Stations
You may think news outlets and radio stations wouldn’t care, but you’d be mistaken. I’ve actually seen a report on the local news about a dog-napping that was caught on someone “Ring” doorbell camera. The more attention you can get, the more people there are who could be watching out for your little fur ball.
How Do You Prevent Your Dog from Being Stolen?
Here’s a few simple things you can do to help prevent your dog from being stolen or even lost.
1. Dog Collar & ID Tag
The simplest thing you can start with is making sure your dog always wears a dog collar and ID tag with his/her name, your name, address, and phone number. If someone finds your dog, they can quickly and easily return them.
You’ve probably heard of microchipping. A microchip would be surgically implanted under your pet’s skin, so that it always stays with them. If your pet is returned to a veterinarian or an animal shelter, they can scan your pet’s microchip, and your contact information will pop up in their system. The nice part is that a microchip stays in your pet, but it only helps if your pet is returned to a shelter or vet.
3. GPS Dog Collar
GSP dog collars have become increasingly popular now. Not only can you keep track of your dog’s daily activities and health, you can keep track of their GPS location. Of course, this only works if the collar is still on. But if your dog runs off, you can quickly find them again. And even if your pup is stolen, the collar looks pretty normal and the thief may not realize until you’ve located your dog. You can learn about Fi, the smartest GPS dog collar, here.
4. Keep Your Dog Secured
Make sure your dog is always on-leash when you go for walks, and tied up or fenced-in when at home. Even still, it’s best to be outside in the yard with your dog, so that no one brazen enough tries to steal your dog from your own front or backyard.
See Something, Say Something
If you happen to see some unusual activity in your neighbor’s yard, and it looks like someone might be trying to take their dog—say something! Whether it’s to scare off the thief, or calling the police right away. If it were your dog, you would hope someone else would do the same for you.