It’s quite simply one of the worst feelings in the world when your dog runs off and you may very well never see them again.
There is also a much more worrying trend occurring which involves the systematic and deliberate act of stealing people’s much-loved pooches!
Hopefully, after reading our article here you will feel much more “clued up” on what to do and what not to do in order to avoid this crime.
We need to know how to prevent dog theft.
Table Of Contents
- We need to know how to prevent dog theft.
- Think Like A Criminal
- The three main reasons behind this crime
- Common Ways That Dogs Get Stolen
- What is the most commonly stolen dog?
- How Can You Stop Your Dog From Being Stolen
- Be vigilant at all times
- Garden Security
- It’s never okay to leave a dog in your car
- Don’t leave your dog outside of shops
- In case of any incident, please report it
- Always be on the lookout for strangers
- Microchips, tags, and collars
- Don’t let your documents get into the wrong hands
- Verify that your dog walker and/or pet sitter are doing their jobs
- Install an alarm/bell
- Extensive training for excellent recall
- What You Can Do If Your Dog Is Stolen
- Retrace Your Steps.
- Social Media
- Dog rescue centers and kennels should be informed.
- It is important to notify your local council and dog wardens that your dog has been lost.
- Inform the Microchip database
- Inform The Police
- Remember folks, always stay vigilant with your dog…they are way too important to us.
I have been lucky as I have always got my dogs back in the past but sadly in recent years both here and abroad, the crime of people actually stealing dogs has begun to rise as a method for criminals to make money.
Before we look at what you can do as a responsible owner to avoid this dreadful thing happening, it’s important for us to know some of the reasons behind why this is happening.
Think Like A Criminal
We, therefore, have to try to “think like a criminal”.
I know this sounds bad, but please bear with me here.
In order for us to protect ourselves, and our dogs from being victims, we need to know why this is happening.
The main motivation for most crimes is financial gain and with many dogs costing a small fortune these days, you can see why it is happening and is on the rise.
As owners, we can spend easily four figures getting a pedigree dog from a breeder, and these breeds along with toy dogs that many celebrities are seen owning on TV and in magazines these days can be a sure-fire way of tempting the criminal element of society that want to make a quick buck.
The resale of a stolen dog can still be very high and that is without mentioning what an owner would be prepared to pay for the safe return of their beloved pet.
Seriously, we are dealing with some monstrous folk who deal in this miserable trade.
The three main reasons behind this crime
Selling On The Dog
There are many buyers of dogs who don’t ask too many questions when they are trying to get the dog they want at the right price.
This is why this crime is on the increase, simply put its supply and demand and the criminals know that they can quickly make money from potential owners who aren’t really interested in where the dog came from.
The only way this can be reduced is by having more responsible owners who care about their dogs.
This is where a thief will of taken someone’s dog and then they wait until the owner is frantic and then they get in touch with them.
The story plays out with the thief saying they have the dog and it’s safe a well and they want money to get it back to the owner.
It’s a dreadful thing to do to anyone and any dog and the sad thing is generally dog lovers will pay up.
This form of extortion can be subtle or it can be extremely harrowing, it depends on the theif.
The variation of this is when the thief waits until he or she sees a local reward offered and they then pretend to of found the dog, whilst making sure they get their ill-gotten gains.
This is where dogs are stolen specifically to be used to breed and the pups are then sold on for huge gain. These dogs are seldom returned and this has to be one of the evilest acts that occur in this already awful crime.
More expensive pedigree breeds are at risk here and one way to avoid this is having your dog chipped, neutered, and this info to be on their ID tag as a deterrent.
Common Ways That Dogs Get Stolen
These places are an easy target for a thief if they see a vulnerable dog in a garden that is easy to get into.
Many people will let their dog out into the garden and that is fine, but if your garden isn’t secure both inside and out, then you are setting yourself and your dog up for potential failure.
Dogs left unattended in a car are easy picking for a thief. I know we have all probably done this whilst we quickly popped into a store, but really we are taking a big risk.
It’s never good to leave your dog in a car at any time but a thief won’t care one jot about smashing a window to get into your car to get your dog. Just remember that.
Tied Up Outside A Shop
I absolutely hate seeing this. I have never seen a happy dog tied up outside a store. They always look sad, confused, and scared and that is the least of the potential worries we have here.
How “easy” is it to steal an unattended dog? Answer: Very.
Please don’t do this!
In A Park or off-leash when exercising
Another great place for our thieves to prey upon dogs is in parks or off-leash exercise areas where your dog may be running free.
It’s very easy for your dog to run off from you and be a fair distance away within seconds. I own a greyhound and he can obviously run very fast. In fact, it takes him around 6 to 8 strides to be up to 40mph and when he runs, he can be easily 400m away from me within around 30 seconds.
400m is around a quarter of a mile.
Do you think I could easily get him back if he was such a distance away and someone decided to bundle him into a van or car?
Off-leash dogs in busy parks are prime for stealing and these areas are the place that thieves frequent a lot.
As I said earlier, you have to think like a criminal. It’s a business to them.
The underlying yet common thread to all this is that vulnerable and unattended dogs are exactly the kinds of dogs that our thief preys upon.
What is the most commonly stolen dog?
How Can You Stop Your Dog From Being Stolen
The theft of dogs is a continuing issue, and the number of dogs being stolen is on the rise.
A stolen pet is especially heartbreaking because you have no idea what might happen to them.
In some cases, your dog may be stolen if you take certain precautions.
The following tips can help you reduce the likelihood of your dog being stolen.
Be vigilant at all times
The most important thing to do is to never leave your dog unattended.
You should always know where your dog is when you are out and about, and if he or she cannot be trusted off-leash, then do not take any risks.
Whenever you are at home, keep your dog on your property, and don’t let it wander around the neighborhood.
Dogs should only be left unattended in gardens that are secure.
Getting gates installed to keep your dog in should be one of your top priorities.
Keeping your garden secure means keeping the pests out, while also keeping others from getting into it.
As a rule of thumb and if you can afford to do this, you should aim to make your garden area as secure as possible both for you and your dog.
Making it extremely difficult to get into and out of must be a priority if you are keen on letting your dog lounge about in the sunshine!
Make your yard a place that will make would-be thieves think twice before entering.
This can be a simple as putting up signs like this:
Believe me when I say this, that anything that makes someone think twice before entering has to be a good thing!
It’s never okay to leave a dog in your car
If you leave your car window down while your dog is in the backseat, then you are leaving them open to theft.
A few seconds are all it takes for them to force open windows and grab your dog.
It’s not good practice as we have already discussed
Don’t leave your dog outside of shops
It has been a common sight for many years to see a dog tied outside a shop.
Because dog theft has increased, and there have been some cases of stolen dogs in this circumstance, it’s probably best to avoid doing so.
In case of any incident, please report it
You should report any suspicious behavior or people approaching you and asking strange questions about your dog.
An incident can be prevented if you take the proper steps.
Let other dog walkers you see know what has happened and share it with social media. If you have any grave concerns, ring the police and tell that what happened.
They should make a note of it and it could help someone else if it happens again.
Always be on the lookout for strangers
Anyone who shows interest in your dog in the park or at your front door should be treated with caution.
Please do not let them hold or take pictures of your dog. It could just be a way to distract you.
Remember, be vigilant and never tell strangers too much about your dog or you.
If your dog wears a collar, it must have an ID tag.
Please include your second name, phone number, and address.
You should not write your dog’s name on the tag, as someone attempting to steal them will attempt to call the dog’s name to get them to come over.
Your dog should be microchipped and their tags should state that they are.
Don’t let your documents get into the wrong hands
Safely store all important documents and insurance documents for your dog.
Keeping all your dog details safe at home is important for many reasons so always try to have them to hand.
Verify that your dog walker and/or pet sitter are doing their jobs
Do a background check on any kennel you are considering sending your dog to, even if it comes highly recommended by a friend.
Good kennels only employ good kennel hands and walkers, but don’t be afraid to ask the kennel owners any questions if you are unsure of anything to do with the care of your dog.
Make sure you check the background of the person who will be handling your dog, even if you received a recommendation from a friend.
Verify whether they are registered with any professional organizations and whether they are qualified.
Install an alarm/bell
Make sure you install alarms or bells on your garden gates so you will be alerted to any intruders.
Potential dog thieves may also be deterred by them.
Extensive training for excellent recall
Training your dog to return to you on command requires time and effort.
Using this communication method can help you if you need them to come back to you immediately if you believe they are in danger.
In addition to preventing them from running off on walks and in public places, it eliminates others from threatening them.
What You Can Do If Your Dog Is Stolen
If you suspect that your dog has been stolen, it is important to try to think clearly and not to panic.
I understand it is upsetting, but we need to keep a clear head and focus on what we need to do next.
The following tips are designed to keep you focused on the task ahead.
Retrace Your Steps.
If your dog went missing whilst you were out exercising in a park or forest then it’s vital that you stay in that area and try to piece together all the events leading up to the disappearance.
Was there anybody else there? Who did you talk to? Did you see any vehicles?
Any or all of these questions could be critical in the search for your lost dog.
In today’s world, social media is a good way to share news instantly, and online communities are a great way to spread your message quickly.
You can also register your dog lost on several websites that specialize in trying to reunite owners and dogs.
Dog rescue centers and kennels should be informed.
Sometimes stray dogs can end up at the rescue center as they have been picked up by someone or indeed the dog warden themselves have taken them there.
Also, try your vet as an injured dog could end up there especially if they have run off and got hurt by an accident.
This will also alert the vet to be on the lookout for someone else brings in your dog for treatment.
It is important to notify your local council and dog wardens that your dog has been lost.
This is often overlooked by people and the dog wardens are an excellent route to advise as they are mobile and know how to look for dogs plus if they see your dog they can quickly get them back to you.
Inform the Microchip database
This is a crucial step. If you have a microchipped dog ( and you really need to address this if your dog is yet to be chipped) then you stand a good chance of locating them if they are lost.
Dog wardens will always scan a dog they find and this will alert your chip company who will contact you.
Also, if anyone else tries to re-register your dog, they will again, alert you.
These are very effective and putting these up in your local area gives people a chance to keep an eye out for your wayward pup.
Inform The Police
When you have done all of this and your dog still hasn’t returned or indeed if you suspect they have in fact been stolen, then it’s time to get the police involved.
In the UK you will get a crime number and it’s vital that you give them as much information as possible, such as description, chip details, where they went missing.
The crime number is important for you to use when making follow-up calls to see what is happening in the case.
Also, if you then get contacted by anyone claiming they have your dog or wanting any kind of reward, again remain calm and try to get as much information from them as possible.
This can be extremely useful for the police to act upon and they may well already know of similar crimes in your area.
Remain calm and try not to antagonize the caller and go along with their story. It’s important to get your dog back in the first instance.
Hopefully, these tips will help you if this dreadful event takes place and I think I speak for all dog owners and dog lovers when I say that I hope that you never have to use them.
Remember folks, always stay vigilant with your dog…they are way too important to us.
Thanks for reading.