What is every pup parent’s worst nightmare? Dognapping! For a loving dog parent, it is terrifying.
The American Kennel Club reported 609 pet thefts in 2013, a 33% increase over 2012. Criminals have discovered a new way to earn a quick buck, and that’s by exploiting the fact that we adore our pets. Some thieves hold the stolen dogs for ransom, others resell them online. While some even use them for profit in underground dog fighting rings. Luckily, there are several things you can do to protect your dog from becoming a statistic of this frightening trend.
1. Microchip all your pets
A collar and ID tag can be quickly and easily removed, but a microchip is forever. As tiny as a grain of rice, microchips can be implanted at any veterinary visit or during your dog’s spay/neuter procedure if you are squeamish. Any time a dog arrives at a shelter, animal clinic, or government facility under suspicious circumstances, they are checked for a chip. It is by far the fastest way to find where a lost pet truly belongs.
In fact, when a scruffy Seattle pup was stolen and dyed black by her dognapper to keep her from being recognized, it was the dog’s microchip that ultimately brought her back home. Without it, the family may not have ever been able to rescue their pup.
2. Never let your dog off leash in the neighborhood
Even if you have great neighbors who love your pet as much as you do, a dog off-leash is a nightmare waiting to happen. Besides the risk of injuries from cars, snakes, and other dogs, your pup will be a sitting duck to a dognapper trolling for victims!
3. Do not leave your dog unattended in the yard
The same goes for dogs left unattended in fenced yards. Even if you are at home, chances are you aren’t watching your pooch out the window every second. It only takes a moment for someone to lean over the fence and scoop up your good-natured pup.
4. Do not leave your dog alone in a car
We have all heard the warnings about leaving dogs alone in cars, but it’s not just the weather we need to worry about. Even if it’s a brisk fall day, leaving your pooch in the car while you run errands could still put him at risk. Unattended cars are a dognapper’s favorite opportunity to snatch your best friend. As much as we love riding with our dogs, the safest place for them is inside your home while you are out shopping.
5. Do not tie your dog up outside of a store
This is just as treacherous as leaving your fuzzbutt in the car, if not worse! All the thief has to do is untie that leash and walk on down the road as if he owns the dog. Folks on the street would have no reason to suspect the dognapper was anything but the pup’s rightful owner. Scary.