Did you know that dognapping is a very common thing these days? It has even been on the rise since the pandemic began. According to the American Kennel Club, an estimated 2 million dogs are stolen every year.
We need the love and comfort our dogs bring us now more than ever, but sadly for many their pooches are being ripped away from them.
The stolen dogs are sold by the thieves to unsuspecting people looking to adopt a dog, or sold to backyard dog breeders. Unfortunately, the practice will continue as long as dognapping is profitable for the dog thieves. To thieves, it’s usually all about the money.
No justice for victims of dog the
If caught, dog thieves don’t face much in the way of consequences. In the United States, the punishment varies from state to state, but pet theft is a misdemeanor with a small fine and little to no jail time in most states. In Canada, it’s a $2,000 fine and up to six months in prison. The UK has a more severe punishment of a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
Most valuable dogs
The dogs that earn thieves the most money are pedigree dog breeds. These dogs can be worth hundreds or even thousands because they can be resold or used for breeding. Some crossbreeds can also be valuable to some thieves looking for “bait dogs” used in dog fights.
One of the most popular dogs these days is a Labrador Retriever making them the most valuable to thieves.
Dog thieves are always on the lookout for the opportunity to steal a dog. They look for dogs left unattended in cars, outside stores, and in unattended yards. And Alarmingly, some thieves are brave enough to grab the dog from their owners while they are out on a walk or at the park. Home burglars may even take your dog along with your jewelry and electronics.
People who walk dogs for a living are targets of dog thieves. Dog walkers’ vehicles have become a popular target because they contain several dogs and there is a good chance that those dogs are some of the most valuable breeds. These thefts are organized and well planned, suggesting this method of dog theft is growing in popularity.
What you can do
There are a few things you can do to protect your pup from being stolen.
- Make sure your house is secure by having good locks on your windows and doors.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard, especially if they are highly visible to passersby.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended outside stores or in cars. A determined thief won’t hesitate to break a car window to take your precious dog. They may even claim they were trying to “save” your dog, to justify breaking your car window.
- Lockable dog crates can be a deterrent, but as with a car window thieves can break-in.
- Think of your dog as you would your phone. If you left your phone sitting out in plain view you probably wouldn’t expect it to be there when you got back, would you?
- Don’t give information to strangers about your dog.
- When you are outside in a public place and you want to let your dog off their leash make sure that they stay in sight and that they will come back to you when you call. If they don’t come back when you call, keep them on their leash when in an unsecured place.
- If you don’t feel safe when you’re out with your dog, don’t go alone. Take a friend, neighbor, or family member with you.
- Take some clear photos of your dog from several different angles so you have them ready if your dog ever gets stolen.
For extra security and peace of mind, you can have a microchip implanted in your dog. Just make sure your personal details are up-to-date on the chip. If a stolen dog is taken to the vet by its new owners or ends up at a shelter, its microchip will be scanned and it will be able to be returned to its proper owners.
GPS dog collars
There are a lot of great options out there for GPS dog collars. The trackers are linked to your smartphone and come with an app so you can keep an eye on the whereabouts of your dog. This isn’t foolproof because a dog thief could easily take the collar off the dog, but it could help if they don’t take it off right away.
What to do if your dog gets stolen
This is when the photos you took of your dog will come in handy. Report your dog stolen and give pictures to the following:
- The microchip company
- Local vets
- Rescue centers
- Post photos all over social media and have your friends share them
Getting the word out about your stolen dog to as many people as possible will make it harder for the thief to resell them. If they try to sell it to someone who has seen the photo of the missing dog they are more likely to be caught.
You can also register your dog on lost and found websites, this is a great way of getting information on your missing pup out there.
Offering a reward can be good and bad. On one hand, it could result in your dog being returned quickly, but on the other hand, it encourages dog thieves to continue their vile practice. They will keep stealing dogs in hopes the owner will offer reward money for the return of their dog.
New dog owners
If you are looking to adopt a dog from a private seller you should do your best to verify the dog’s history. Take it to a vet to have its microchip scanned to check to see if it’s stolen. Check lost dog websites. And if you find the dog you want to buy on a website or social media, be extra careful when looking into the dog’s background.
The best thing we can do to help reduce the problem of dognapping is by spreading awareness. People need to know that it is a real and growing problem and need to be aware of how they can reduce the risk to their own dog.
Source: thanks to theconversation.com
Let us know in the comments below how you keep your dog safe dognappers!
If you are in the mood for something adorable check out this dog with a unique smile.