It’s a sad fact that around 2 million pets are stolen every year in the United States alone. Worse, only 10% of these are ever returned to their rightful homes. Stolen pets can face all sorts of awful fates, such as being used in dog fighting rings, sold to puppy mills, sold to labs, and more. These pets could be taken from cars or when left outside shops on a leash. Others are taken directly from an owner’s backyard, or thieves who prey on “free to a good home” online ads. It’s tragic to think about, but it’s important to know this is a real and common crime. However, are a number of steps you can take to help keep your pet safely in your possession.
We’ve talked about the importance of getting your pet microchipped, as well as having an ID tag on them at all times. If your pet is stolen and recovered, these things can help get them returned to you much more quickly. Also, many counties require pet registration, and you can keep a photo of your dog or cat in a safe place to use in rescue attempts.
Many people do it, but it’s also warned that leaving your pet alone for even a short while can make them a target for thieves. Pets left alone in a car, out back in an unsecured yard, or tied to a post outside of a shop or restaurant can be quickly snatched up. Always try to know where your pet is, especially if you’re in a public place with them (and don’t leave them outdoors if you’re away from home).
Aside from helping fight dog and cat overpopulation, spaying and neutering your pet can make them less prone to wander and can keep them closer to home should they slip their leash or dig under the fence.
Should you believe your pet has been stolen, swiftly let your friends, family, and neighbors know so they can help with the search–again, providing a recent photo and description can be invaluable here. Take the time to educate your community about pet theft so everyone can be involved in protecting our four-legged companions.
Is your pet secure from potential theft? Do you know where they are at all times or have ways to properly ID them if they do go missing and wind up in a pound or shelter somewhere?
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