Our pets are very important to us and we rely on them for comfort and support every day. So it is devastating and hard to believe that a pet would be stolen. Every year about 2 million pets go missing with only about 10 percent returned home. These figures have alarmingly risen about 37 percent since 2007. So in honor of National Pet Theft Awareness Day which is being celebrated on February 14, I am going to blog about why they are stolen and how to reduce the possibility of your pet being dog- or cat- napped.
There are quite a few reasons why someone may steal a pet. According to PetFBI, these are the most common:
- Pet Flipping: Popular breeds of dogs can be “resold” online or in the paper.
- Reward: Some pets are stolen in hopes the owner will offer a reward, which the thief will then claim
- Puppy Mills: Pets that have not been spayed or nuetered may be turned over to backyard breeders or puppy mills
- Dog Fighting Rings: Small dogs and cats have been stolen to be used as “bait” for dog-fight training. The large breed dogs are often used as dog fighting candidates.
- Neighbors: If pets have been known as “nuisances” neighbors have been known to take animals and dump them in other locales.
- Relatives: Sadly, many pet thefts come from family members who are upset with you like in a divorce or family dispute
- Good Intentions: Not all pet-nappings are maliscious. A good-hearted person may believe that they are helping your pet if they feel that the pet is being neglected in some way. This is why you never leave your pet tied up in your yard, keeping them outside only, or have a pet that has signs of being neglected.
There are steps that owners can take to prevent their pets from being stolen. First and foremost, HAVE YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED and make sure that their records are updated. Remember that the microchip is only as good as the registration, so make sure that they are microchipped. In addition, you can:
- Your pets should not be allowed to run free outdoors unattended and make sure that your pets are always wearing a collar and identification.
- Spay and neuter your pets
- Don’t tie up your dog outside of a restaurant or store and never leave your pet in a car.
- Keep dog doors and fence gates locked when you are not at home.
- Have updated photos of your pet with emphasis on special markings
- Install cameras. Indoor and outdoor camera networks are ideal for keeping your pet safe.
Nothing is scarier or upsetting to come home and find your pet missing. It is of most importance to act quickly as every minute matters when you are looking for your pet, whether they have escaped from your yard or have been dog-napped.
If you believe that they have been stolen, immediately report it to the police. This provides a record that is documented and can be used for further action. It is important to canvas the area on foot every day. Creating a “Lost Pet” poster and placing throughtout the community helps others watch for your pet in cars, on the street or at neighbors. Post a lost pet report through your microchip company and your animal control. Avoid posting a reward is being offered.
If you have any other questions about microchipping or keeping your pet safe, do not hesitate to contact our office today.