According to a recent report on National Public Radio, dognappings have risen 49 percent in the U.S. in 2011, according to data gathered by the American Kennel Club. “We believe the increase is due to economic times,” said Lisa Peterson, a spokesperson for AKC, which has been tracking pet theft for several years. “You have people who want pets … but can’t afford to purchase them or pay the adoption fees, so we find that they’re just taking them for themselves or to give them as gifts,” she says. “But then on the other hand, you have the criminal element that steals dogs and tries to sell them to unsuspecting buyers.”
Lisa says the top two ways dogs are being stolen are during home invasions and out of parked cars. She cites a case in Florida where criminals took a 55-inch television set and also Boo-Boo, the Yorkshire terrier, with all of his belongings. While we know our clients would never dream of doing it, tying up a dog in front of a store also makes it vulnerable for theft.
Some dog owners choose to protect their pets by having a microchip implanted, but there are also common-sense, close-to-home measures like always having readable identity tags with name & phone number or not leaving your dog unattended in your yard. In addition, Peterson says, dog owners should be cautious with information they tell strangers. “We saw a man in Tulsa, Okla., who was approached by a man in a park, [who asked] about his adorable pit bull puppy,” she says. “Then apparently the criminal followed him home and the next morning broke into the house, tied up the family at gunpoint and stole the puppy.”
Sorry to scare you with this! Although pet theft is lower here than in Florida or Tulsa, we want to help inform you in as many ways as possible to protect and care for your dogs.