Dog Thefts Are Way Up -- Can You Protect Your
Pet?By Lisa Peterson Published August 26, 2011
As a former crime reporter I was trained
to sniff out statistics and trends. So when I retrieved my journalist instincts here at the American Kennel Club I discovered an emerging trend affecting dog owners – pet theft.Since 2007 the AKC has
been tracking dog, based on customer and media reports, stolen from owners’ cars, homes and yards among other places.
The fact is that for the first seven months of 2011 we’ve tracked a shocking 49% increase in pet thefts nationwide over
the same period last year.Why this sudden uptick
in stolen dogs? Certainly money, or lack thereof, and other economic motivations are in play here. People are stealing pets
to keep for themselves, not wanting to pay a purchase price or adoption fee. Criminals are engaging in “dognapping”
to quickly sell the pups for profit to unsuspecting buyers or waiting for owners to offer a reward, some as much as $10,000,
and then miraculously have the dog appear.We have
noticed that smaller breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and Pomeranians, along with puppies in general, sadly make up
a majority of stolen dogs in the AKC Companion Animal Recovery National Pet Theft
Database. We believe some of this year’s increase extends beyond the purebred market, since for the first time we are seeing
more mixed-breeds dogs being stolen from shelters and adoption events as well as more pit bulls being taken.Despite this alarming rise, it is not
our intention to create panic among dog owners but to educate them about this potential crime and offer preventive measures
and proactive recovery methods. And, yes, despite a myth I hear often, you can file a police report for your stolen dog and
we’ll show you how. First here are five prevention tips and then three recovery tips:FOUR PREVENTION TIPS1. Don’t let your
dog off-leash. Keeping your dog close to
you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. Recently, a woman carrying her Maltese as
she exited a convenience store had it snatched out of her arms.2. Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard. Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard
is visible from the street. For example, a Bulldog in North Carolina was stolen out of his backyard by thieves who stretched
the chain link fence to gain access to the dog.3. Be cautious
with information. If strangers approach
you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where
you live. In Oklahoma a family was approached in a park while playing with their adorable pit bull puppy, only to be followed
home. The next morning a gunman broke into the house, tied up the family and stole the puppy.4. Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked. Besides the obvious health risks this poses to the dog, it’s
also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment. And remember, leaving expensive items in the car such
as a GPS unit or laptop will only encourage break-ins.5. Don’t tie your dog up outside a store. This popular practice among city-dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to go shopping, patronize
only dog-friendly retailers or leave your dog at home.THREE RECOVERY TIPS1. Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent
ID with a microchip. Thieves will not know the dog has a microchip until a veterinarian or shelter worker scans it so keep contact information
current with your microchip recovery service provider. Incredibly, after seven years a stolen Weimaraner puppy was returned to its rightful owner when it was scanned for microchip some 500 miles away from its first home.2. If you suspect your dog has been stolen, immediately call the
police / animal control officer in the area your pet was last seen and file a police report. If your dog has a microchip, ask to have that unique serial number, along with the
dog’s description, posted in the “stolen article” category on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.3.
Canvass the neighborhood and post fliers. Talk
to people in the immediate vicinity where your pet went missing for possible sightings of the actual theft.
more tips and how to get your dog microchipped visit www.akccar.orgLisa Peterson is Director of Communications for the
American Kennel Club. She is a longtime breeder/owner/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds. She also writes the syndicated column Ask AKC.
Yorkies will provide permanent microchip identification for your puppy, if you choose. Your new puppy will
come to you already fitted with a tiny harmless microchip if that is your wish. The microchip will stay safely
in place for life, offering protection from loss, theft, or separation due to natural or personal disaster. The microchip
number is unique and will belong only to your puppy.
We are proud to offer this
to our customers as a free service. This shows, in a small way, our commitment
to a higher Standard of Care for our Yorkies.