Pet Advice A Guide to Pet Theft

Published on August 21st, 2014 | by Debbie Martin


A Guide to Pet Theft – Don’t Let Your Beloved Furry Friend Get Stolen

Did you know that pet theft is becoming an increasingly series issue in the world? You probably thought that a thief would steal your laptop, your car or your television when given the chance – but you might not have thought that they would steal your cat or your dog. In fact, kidnapping and trafficking of cats and dogs is becoming a massive problem and it is gaining more interest in the UK as of late, generating discussion from pet owners, charities and the media.

Although there is no statistic on the matter, it is thought that the theft of cats and dogs is increasing every year. Organisations such as Dog Theft Action and The Kennel Club are working together with the police in order to figure out the number of dog thefts that have been reported every year.

Why Would Someone Steal My Pet?

You might be wondering why someone would steal your beloved furry friend away from you. The most common reason is usually money. The thief hopes that they can ask for a ransom demand for the safe return of the pet or maybe they will sell it on to someone else (like underground fight rings). Most people love their pet dearly and consider them a part of the family, so they would usually give in to demands and pay the kidnapper the ransom. Another tactic is to steal the pet and then return it pretending to have found it, hoping that reward money will be offered.

Another reason why a thief might steal a pet is because it is an expensive and sought after pure bred animal. A dog or cat of an expensive breed that has not been spayed or neutered gives them the chance to breed puppies or kittens that will sell for a lot of money.

One of the most horrifying reasons for dog theft is that some breeds – like Staffordshire Bull Terriers – are taken from their owners and forced to participate in brutal dog fights. These people make money from the bets that they place on these fights. Dogs that are used for this purpose are abused and treated horrifically meaning most die, any caring dog owner would never want this to happen to their pet.

How Can You Protect Your Pet?

Having your pet stolen in any of these ways is a terrible thought and you will want to do everything you can to prevent this from happening to you. There are many safety precautions that you can take which will help you to avoid having your pet stolen. This is especially important with dogs as they are more often stolen, but it can apply to cats as well.

Your pet should always be wearing a collar and an ID tag which has your name, your address with your full postcode and your telephone number. It is also important for your dog to have a microchip, so that they can be permanently identifiable – these are really cheap and easy to apply nowadays. Make sure that the microchip is checked by your vet every year.

You should keep all of the documents that are related to your dog together in a safe and secure place, along with photographs of the dog from various angles. These photos and documents will help you to prove that the dog belongs to you if you do end up finding someone trying to sell the animal and pretending it is theirs.

Be Vigilant to Protect Your Furry Friend

It is vital to protect your dog and ensure that they are not a potential target for thieves. Don’t let them out of your sight on a walk and if they refuse to use a typical lead you can consider using one with a long extension. Train your dog well so that they will come when you call them and will not run far away out of your sight on a walk.

Make sure that you take care around strangers and be suspicious of anyone who takes an interest in your dog and asks a lot of questions about it. Be wary if a stranger wants to have their photo taken with your dog too. Also be careful if you are ever selling a dog or a puppy in regards to what other people can view.

Keep Your Dog Secure

Make sure that your garden and the fences around your property are secure and there are no areas where a thief might be able to gain access to your garden and take your dog. It is also a good idea to outfit your property with an alarm, a bell, or a motion sensor light as this will alert you when someone has entered your property.

Although you might be in the habit of tying your dog up to a lamppost or a fence outside of the shop while you quickly nip in and buy some milk and bread – this can be a dangerous thing to do. An opportunistic dog thief can quickly untie your dog’s lead and take them away. Make sure that you avoid this at all costs and avoid letting your dog out of your sight in public.

It is also a good idea to have an insurance policy for your pet. If your pet is stolen, the insurance will cover the cost of advertising and a reward to ensure it is safely returned. Some policies also offer a cover if the pet is never found.

Who to Contact if Your Pet is Stolen

If you have lost your pet there are a number of organisations that you can contact that will be able to help. These organisations are dedicated to finding lost pets and getting these creatures back to their rightful owners. The people you can contact include Animal Search UK, DogLost, RSPCA, Dog’s Trust and Cats Protection. You also might want to get the local dog warden involved, as well as the animal centers, local council, local vet and the police force.

Having your beloved pet stolen is a terrifying thought, so it is very important to educate yourself on the risks of pet theft and do what you can to protect your furry friend and family member from this awful fate.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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