Officials at the American Kennel Club have been paying particular attention to stolen dog reports made by owners about dogs stolen from cars, yard and homes. Since January 2011, the number of pet thefts has increased 49% over the previous year. Dog Thefts Are Way Up — Do You Know How to Protect Your Pet recommends that unique microchip serial numbers and your dog’s description be posted in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database under “stolen articles.” Other specific prevention tips for pet owners include:
Use a Leash
When owners use a leash for their pets at all times abduction risks can be reduced. Pets on a leash will remain closer to you. You can see who is near your pet and quickly move your pet to safety if needed. Leashes are a primary measure of safety for your pet. It’s quick and easy to go without them, but they can prevent a pet theft when used. Be consistent with your leash use so your pet can know to “get dressed” and remain in close proximity to you.
Don’t Share Information
Sharing information about your habits, living situation, home location, vehicle or family can increase your pet’s vulnerability during your absence. Playing at the beach, dog park or neighborhood park can expose your dog to others that are interested in it. Special skills your dog has or endearing habits in a pricy breed may increase threat opportunities. Know who you’re sharing your information with.
Dog Friendly Shopping
Your dog is vulnerable to pet theft when you tie it outside a store, restaurant or shop while you make purchases inside. Make your purchases at dog-friendly stores. Enjoy your meals at restaurants that encourage pets and people to mix during meals.
Tend to Outdoor Pets
When you leave your animals unattended in their yards you can often have a false sense of your pet’s safety. Animals that are always outside and visible to others for long stretches of time can become vulnerable to pet theft. Fences can be scaled, broken into or cut to gain access to your family’s beloved pet.
Eliminate Locked Vehicles
It will only take you a minute to run into the store or service station or retrieve your briefcase from the office where you forgot it. In that same minute, your pet can be stealthily removed from your car. Vulnerable pets, like electronics equipment in vehicles, can be easily spotted in parked vehicles. They immediately become sitting ducks to would-be thieves. Thieves “won’t hesitate to steal a dog right out of a locked car,” says pet safety company owner Ines de Pablo.