Pet Theft: How To Avoid Being a Victim

Keep your pet safe from theft.

Having a pet run away is an awful experience; having your beloved animal stolen is even more heartbreaking. It’s difficult to track pet thefts, since police departments don’t always distinguish between stolen pets and stolen property. Still, the American Kennel Club reported in 2013 that pet thefts were up a whopping 31% from the year prior, which shows stolen animals are certainly a valid concern for pet owners. Follow these tips on how to avoid pet theft to make sure your favorite feline or canine stays safe at home.

The first step in preventing pet theft is to use common sense. Don’t let your dog roam off his leash, and avoid tying him up while you step into a store or restaurant. In these cases theft might not even be the motive; it’s possible a well-meaning person might pick up your dog thinking he’s abandoned.

The next step is to reduce your risk of being a target. Don’t make a habit of leaving your dog unattended in the yard for long periods of time. The same goes for your car; aside from the obvious safety risks of leaving your dog in a hot car, a thief might decide to smash your window to grab your valuables, allowing your dog to jump out and run away.

Keep details about your dog’s breed and value private. Don’t discuss where you live or how much your dog cost with strangers who stop to compliment you on a walk.

You can do your part to reduce animal thefts by shopping and adopting responsibly. Don’t buy pets off Craigslist; authorities are seeing an increasing number of “pet flippers” who snatch dogs right out of their yards and turn around and sell them on the internet. If the scammer can’t get rid of the dog in a few days, the thief simply abandons it to fend for itself. Always deal with a reliable breeder or rescue organization when choosing a new pet.

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