Dognapping! Thefts of dogs on the increase – be very aware when walking your dog!
- Over 60 dogs snatched every week
- Dogs taken from outside shops
- Dogs taken from outside schools
- Unsecured back gardens
- Unlocked cars
An increasing number of pet owners have become victims of daylight, street theft, with criminals and organised gangs stealing companion and expensive, pure-bred dogs to order, selling them on the black market in a trade that makes them some easy money.
With pedigree dogs being very expensive, some costing hundreds of pounds, it’s not a surprise that thefts are on the increase. Why would these unscrupulous pet owners go to a reputable dog breeder, when they can obtain a purebred dog at half the price? Some dogs may be stolen for ransom money, others may be taken and used in puppy farms as breeding dogs, and a few may even be used as prey in dog-fights. Incidents have been reported of dogs being taken from cars, from their owner’s garden or yard, yet now we are seeing scenes where dogs are taken right from under their owner’s noses, on the street.
Take precautions to keep your dog safe
Always keep your dog on a leash when outside of the home and be aware of any strangers in the neighbourhood or people asking questions about your dog. As a sensible precaution, never tie up your dog outside a store or coffee shop, as this can mean disaster. Thieves will watch you go inside and will know that if you’re shopping for a coffee you could well be otherwise occupied for up to 20 minutes, ample time to untie your dog and be away with him. If you do need to go shopping, make sure you leave your pet at home, or visit dog-friendly stores.
When you’re heading to any doggy specific locations, such as doggie daycare, the Vet’s surgery or to grooming salons, be very aware of anyone watching your movements with your dog, especially slow-moving vehicles. It only takes a few seconds for a crook to jump out of the passenger side of the vehicle and scoop up your dog, leaving you startled and bereft.
If your dog is stolen
While most police forces will document your report, it certainly won’t be given high priority to track down the thief and recover your pet. The best possibility you have of tracing your stolen dog, is to become your own investigator and turn detective.
- Go to animal shelters and record the loss of your dog.
- Put up posters in your local area, starting within a 3-mile radius of home, then if still nothing after a few days, extend your search to a 10-mile radius.
- Post a picture of your dog on social media “lost dog” sites, and ask people to share your post. It’s amazing how many pets are found due to the extent and power of Facebook.
- Check out any pet adoption or for sale ads in the local press, or cards in shop windows. Look out for descriptions that match those of your lost dog.
Of course, it goes without saying that your dog should be microchipped and have ID, but any thief will immediately remove your dog’s collar. Until scanning the microchip in every dog is carried out at every visit to the Vet, a stolen dog may not be noticed until someone actually does scan him and realise that his details do not match up with its current owner.
As the prospects of profiting from stealing a dog become more lucrative, and as the economy fluctuates, there is a very high chance that you could easily become the victim of pet theft – stay alert at all times when out with your dog.
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