The American Kennel Club (AKC) has compiled statistics that bring an unsettling feeling to pet owner’s across the nation. Last year there were over 224 pets stolen, a number that was up 32 percent over the year before, according to the AKC Companion Animal Recovery National Pet Theft Database. Pet owners try to do everything they can to keep their pet out of harm’s way, from installing electric fences and keeping them on a leash, to taking health precautions and maintaining check-ups at the vet, that it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who would commit such a crime.
Why would someone possibly want to steal your dog or cat? Well there are a few reasons why your family pets are becoming the victim of theft.
-The most common reason is sell them, especially purebred dogs.
-To give them away as gifts, simply so the thief doesn’t have to buy the pet themselves.
-To hold them for ransom, knowing that most pet owners will pay whatever the cost to get their dogs or cats back.
-To keep for themselves.
How to Prevent Your Pet From Being Stolen
There are quite a few things you as a pet owner can do in order to prevent your pet from becoming the victim of theft.
-If your yard or area where your pet goes outside is fenced in, always make sure to keep the fence locked if your pet is alone.
-If your yard is not fenced, never leave your pet unattended, as that makes for an easy target for a thief.
-Always be aware of your surroundings when out for a walk or at a dog park. You never know when your pet is being watched by someone who could potentially snatch them when you aren’t looking.
-Don’t let your dog roam around the neighborhood alone, no matter how many times they’ve done it before and come home.
-Always make sure your cat or dog is wearing a collar with tags, stating the correct contact information.
What to do if you Suspect Theft
If the worst does happen and you believe your pet has gone missing, there are a few things you should do.
-Make sure you have an up-to-date photo of the pet.
-Contact the police.
-Contact your neighbors to see if they noticed anything suspicious. This will also make them aware of the missing pet, allowing them to keep an eye out in case the pet has just wandered off.
-Notify all of the local veterinarian offices, as they may be able to help spread the word.
-Certain websites like petfinder.com and findfido.com are specifically designed to help in the event of a lost pet, so it is recommended to check them out.
Hopefully you will never have to go through the trying experience of having a pet stolen, and by taking certain precautions, you will be able to significantly reduce the chances of it happening to you.