Pet theft is a serious problem and the pandemic made it worse. Luckily, there’s lots you can do to protect your dog from being stolen.
While it’s not something we like to think about, pet theft is a growing problem. And thanks to the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly common, since purebred dogs have increased so much in price, and many shelters are empty. You might not think it’s something you need to worry about, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
WHICH DOGS ARE TARGETED THE MOST?
Purebreds and small dogs are in high demand for apartment and city dwellers, while puppies are popular with families, so these animals are stolen more often. Some dogs are even “stolen to order”.
According to the American Kennel Club, the dog breeds most apt to be stolen are Siberian Huskies (for their striking looks), Labradors (for their friendly demeanours), Toy and Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, and Maltese (for their diminutive size), and German Shepherd Dogs (mostly stolen as puppies), Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs (for their charm).
DOES ID PROTECT AGAINST THEFT?
Not really. While ID for your dog is certainly important, it won’t necessarily prevent him from being stolen. Collar tags and GPS devices can be removed, and microchips only work if they’re scanned. If a thief says he’s selling his mother’s dog, a previous chip won’t raise an alarm.
This doesn’t mean you should forget about providing your dog with identification — it’s still vital to finding him if he ever wanders away or gets lost on his own.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG IS STOLEN?
If you’re ever unfortunate enough to have your dog stolen, follow these steps:
- File a police report.
- Distribute flyers.
- Post current photos on social media.
- Check “for sale” ads, as your animal is apt to be resold.
- Know his microchip number as proof he’s yours.
- Check with rescues, shelters, and neighbourhood email lists to see if other thefts have occurred.
TOP TIPS FOR PREVENTING PET THEFT
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the yard, even if it’s fenced in. Dogs are most vulnerable in the front or side yard. Even if you’re watching through a window, thieves can pull up, grab your dog, and drive off in a matter of seconds.
- Put padlocks on the gate.
- Teach your dog not to jump up to be petted over the fence.
- Don’t let your dog roam at large.
- When walking your dog, vary your routes and walk times. It’s not only safer – it’s also more interesting for both of you!
- Take notice if someone watches to see where you live, asks too many questions about your dog (e.g. is she spayed, purebred, did she cost a lot?), or wants to make friends with her.
- Say no if someone offers to give your dog a treat.
- If you’re doing errands while walking your dog, never leave him tied outside a store while you’re in shopping.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes. Not only is it dangerous in warm weather, but it gives a thief the opportunity to pop the lock, grab the pup, and be gone before anyone notices.
Protecting your dog from theft simply means being vigilant.
Thieves are smart…
BUT YOU CAN BE SMARTER!