It’s a scary truth, but dognapping happens. No pet parent wants to think it will happen to them, but an estimated 2 million pets are taken worldwide each year!
Dogs are stolen for a variety of reasons. While some can be personal, such as by an annoyed neighbor, they usually revolve around profit. Dognappers may want to claim a reward from the pet parent, or sell animals for testing. Dog flipping involves reselling a stolen or newly adopted shelter dog to a new pet parent, while puppy mills will pay for new breeding stock for their inventory. Then there’s the fighting rings, which is always on the lookout for fighting dogs, and bait for them to practice with. And with the Covid pandemic causing a surge in pet adoptions, dog theft has only increased to meet the demand.
Any dog can fall prey to a dognapper, but certain purebred pups are often targeted. High-value dogs like Bulldogs, Labs and Huskies are often victims, and smaller Chihuahuas, Yorkies and French Bulldogs are easy to carry off quickly, leaving worry and heartbreak in their wake.
But you can protect your sweet pooch from dognappers! By following these 5 simple tips, you can dramatically reduce your dog’s risk of attracting a dognapper’s attention, and keep your furbaby safe with you.
Make sure your dog’s ID tag on their collar, and their microchip, is always up to date with your current address and phone number. Microchips are the single most important tool you’ll have if your dog gets dognapped, as they hide under the skin and can’t be removed as easily as a collar. Since it’s standard procedure for a dog who ends up at a vet clinic with a new pet parent, at a shelter or in police custody to be scanned for a microchip, this is the best way for them to be identified and reunited with you.
When you are out in public, that means not tying up your dog outside a store while you zip inside, and never, ever, ever leaving them in a car while you are gone, even if only for a few minutes. Besides the risk of overheating on hot days, or freezing on cold ones, this creates a perfect opportunity for a dognapper to bash a window and make off with your best furiend. Always keep a keen eye on your pup, even at the dog park, where dognappers may be scanning for potential victims.
And when you are at home, you’ll still need to be watchful of your dog when they are out in the yard. Gated yards are often left unlocked, and it only takes a moment for a dognapper to hop over a fence and grab your dog.
Spaying or neutering your dog is smart for a lot of reasons, such as reducing the risk of certain health issues and population control. But an unaltered dog is a red flag to a dognapper, especially if they are a pupular purebred who would fetch a profit with an illegal breeder or puppy mill. These unfortunate pups can look forward to a life stuck in a cage breeding puppies who are also treated poorly and sold on for more profit.
If a stranger comes a-petting, be wary if they ask too many detailed questions about your dog, especially ones like if they are fixed, or how much you paid for them. Never give out too much info about your dog, especially to people you don’t know.
Leave off that “Beware of Dog” sign from your fence, because you’re advertising a potential target is on the other side. And social media streams of your pawdorable pup can be fun, but don’t give out too much information online about your dog, where you live, or where you two are going to be that day which can give dognappers a road map to your pup.
Dognappers are on the lookout for dogs who they can sell, and since purebreds are at the top of that list, adopting a mixed breed from a shelter or rescue is a win win! Not only do you save a dog from an uncertain future by providing a loving and caring home, but you’ll also have a best furiend who doesn’t attract the attention of thieves. You should also stay away from online breeders on non-reputable sites who are likely supporting the illegal dog breeding industry, and dognapping!
By taking these simple precautions, you can keep your dog safe and living their best life with you. If you do witness a dognapping, or fall victim yourself, find out what to do next here!