Dog Theft Trend Continuing To Rise

dynamic, Theft - By Melissa Mathews on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 15:37

 A $5000 reward has been posted for the return of a small Yorkshire Terrier in Hayward California.   The dog, Mongko, was dog-napped from the owners car while she was doing some last minute shopping on New Year's Eve.  The owner returned to find a broken window and the dog missing.   This sad story is part of a trend of dog thefts that increased in occurrence across the country in the past few years. 

The trend seems to be increasing in the difficult economic environment and is most prevalent with purebred dogs that can cost thousands of dollars.    The AKC has reported an drastic increase, about 3 times as many, in dog thefts over the past few years.  Toy breeds, like the Yorkshire Terrier, French Bulldog and other small designer mixes,  are typically the target of such thefts however puppies of larger breeds are also at risk.   

Dogs are typically stolen for ransomed or reward money, resale, dog fighting, and sometimes because the thief can't afford a particular breed.   With this trend continuing to rise with no end in sight, what is the typical owner to do?  Below are best practice steps to prevent your dog from theft.

Do Not Tie Your Dog Up
This seems like an obvious step but many dog owners in metropolitan areas think it is ok to leave a dog for a few moments while they make a quick stop in a shop.  It is too easy for a dog to be untied and walked off.   Even if you can see your dog, someone could pull up, grab the dog and drive off before you had a chance to get to it.  Keep your dog with you at all times or leave them at home.

Never Leave A Dog Alone In A Car
Not only is this not safe in summer months because of heat, A dog left alone in a car is a perfect target for theft and windows are easily broken.  Alarms and locks are not a deterrent for a thief when they can break a window and grab the dog quickly.   If you travel the dog show circuit, make sure your dogs sleep in the room with you and not in the car.

Keep Your Dog Secure In Your Yard
When your dog is in the yard alone make sure the gate is securely locked and the dog is not visible from the street.  For dogs that dig make sure the yard is lined with chicken wire at the base of the fence to prevent digging out.   Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house in the event you are not home and someone approaches the fence.

Watch For People Without Dogs At The Run
If you notice individuals enter a dog run without a dog keep a close eye on your dog or leave.  It is not uncommon for dogs to be stolen from runs when owners are distracted. 

Never Brag About Your Dog
This might seem obviouse but never discuss the price of your dog or the breed with strangers and never brag about how friendly your dog is.  Give as little information to strangers petting your dog as possible as they may be looking for potential targets.

Have Tags With Minimal Info
Use dog tags that provide an intermediary contact to prevent a thief from knowing too much about you.  If you must place your info on your dogs tag, list only your phone number and not your address.  The less the thief knows the less they can use against you. 

Keep Proof Of Ownership
Make sure you have proof of ownership that includes bill of sale, registration, vet records and photos.  In the event that ownership is questioned you will need proof that it is your dog.

Follow the above steps and always be aware of your surroundings when out with your dog.  The more aware you are the better protected you and your dog will be. 

If you know anything about the theft of Mongko contact the Hayward Police Department at (510-293-7000 ), or email the owner Kim directly at:

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