Protecting our dogs from being stolen!

Can you imagine anything more awful!

I’m not sure if we are out and about with our dogs more frequently in the Summer but one would assume so.

But whatever the season, the number of people that do take their dogs with them when they are out is very significant.

So a recent article published by Care 2 about how thieves do steal dogs seemed timely.


5 Ways Thieves Could Steal Your Dog

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on January 1, 2013. Enjoy!

Sergeant Kenneth Chambers was playing Frisbee with his dog in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida, grocery store recently when lightning struck out of the clear blue sky. The young American veteran, in recovery for post traumatic stress disorder, rolled down the car windows and placed his Australian Shepard/Blue Heeler Mix inside the vehicle just briefly, while he went inside to help his mother with the bags. When he came out moments later, Adalida was gone.

Unfortunately for Sergeant Chambers, and for Adalida, the parking lot scenario placed them in two of the top five high-risk situations for pet theft. And while Sergeant Chamebers’ search continues for Adalida, there are measures that all of us can take to prevent a similar tragedy.

Here are five of the top high-risk pet theft scenarios to avoid: 

1. Dogs in cars

In the blink of an eye, a partially opened window can be forced down or smashed. It takes 20 seconds or less to abduct a dog, and by the time a pet owner returns to the car, their dog is long gone. The American Kennel Club reports a 70 percent rise in dog theft in 2012 and a 40 percent rise the year before. A weak economy has fueled financially motivated dog-napping — and a dog in a car is, quite simply, a sitting duck.

2. Highly prized breeds or dogs with special abilities

A purebred dog or a dog with special skills is a bit like a gold watch. Thieves see dollar signs, and that’s more than enough temptation. Any dog left unattended can be taken, but there is far greater motivation for criminals to walk off with a dog who can bring in a large sum of cash.

3. Pets left in fenced backyards

Everyone loves the convenience of a doggy door — especially criminals. Homeowners who let their pet explore the fenced yard without supervision maintain the illusion of safety, but police departments across the country will tell you that this isn’t enough.

In broad daylight on a single Saturday in November, Corning Animal Shelter Manager Debbie Eaglebarger documented the theft of four Dobermans, four Australian shepherds and two Rottweilers. One neighbor witnessed a man and a woman lure one of the dogs out of a backyard and into their vehicle. All dogs taken that day were purebred, but that is not always the case.

4. Pets left tied in front of businesses

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but particularly in urban areas where pets accompany their owners on errands, it’s not uncommon to find dogs tied up in front of a bank or grocery store. Typically, these are dogs with a gentle demeanor — and that makes them highly susceptible to the commands of a would-be thief.

“Leaving your dog tied up in front of a store is about as ludicrous as leaving your child out front and saying, ‘Wait right there, I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” explains Howard Simpson of Integrated Security and Communications in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. “Do yourself a favor and realize that there are security risks in even the safest of neighborhoods. Being naive makes you a target.”

5 Strangers in the neighborhood

Any strangers on your property can be a risk to your pets. Whether they are invited contractors, deliverymen or political campaigners, visitors could easily grab a pet during a moment when the homeowner is distracted. In some cases, they are making a mental note of homes with valuable breeds or easy-to-subvert home security that will facilitate a quick dog-napping at a later time. It bears mentioning that it’s not uncommon for cats to jump into the back of truck beds for a snooze and to be unwittingly carried off at the end of the day.

Which breeds are most likely to be stolen?

According to the American Kennel Club, the most stolen dog of 2011 was the Yorkshire terrier, followed by the Pomeranian, Maltese and Boston terrier. Small breeds are targeted by thieves because of their size but also because of their value on the market — a single dog can fetch well over $1,000! Among the large breeds, Labrador retrievers are a frequent target, as well as pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes – perhaps for a much more sinister purpose.

Why do thieves target pets?

1. Bait dogs and laboratory dogs

This is every dog guardian’s worst nightmare. Indeed people involved in dog fighting will gather “bait” dogs to be used as training tools for fighting dogs. It happens in both urban and rural areas, and there has been no measurable decline in dog fighting in recent years. Despite some legislation intended to stop the sale of undocumented dogs to research laboratories, under-the-table sales continue — and, in some countries, these exchanges are not considered a crime.

2. Financially motivated theft

“For the first time ever we’ve seen a trend now where shelters are being broken into and purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen,” said Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. In fact, any purebred dog, particularly puppies, is considered a high-value commodity. Even with a microchip, it’s often too late when a pet buyer discovers that they have purchased a stolen dog.  By then, the thief is long gone.

3. Emotionally driven theft

What’s often overlooked are the emotionally motivated crimes that rob dogs of their families. This can happen because the perpetrator feels that a dog is not being properly cared for. Some animal lovers will feel justified in stealing a dog that is tied in front of a store or who gets  loose one day. Other times it’s an act of revenge, and, in many cases, a former romantic partner is considered the prime suspect.

Whatever the scenario or the motivation, dog guardians can best protect their dogs with watchfulness. Never leave a dog unattended. Secure your home, including all doors and windows, to the best of your ability and budget. And be wary of strangers in your neighborhood at all times.

Brought to you by the Harmony Fund, an international animal rescue charity.

20 thoughts on “Protecting our dogs from being stolen!

  1. If I see a dog outside a shop I have to linger until the rightful owner comes along. It makes my blood run cold. I don’t think people know about the baiting aspect so thanks for pointing it out. If anyone ever took Darcy, thinking he was small and cute, they would be in for a big shock!


    1. It worries Jeannie very much when she sees the same thing. Those stores that don’t allow dogs inside should have a member of staff allocated to watching the animals outside. Would probably be good for business.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could do that job! I do understand how tempting it is to walk to the grocery store and walk the dog at the same time but this is not the time for multi tasking!


  2. Years ago when I was a young adult (I am now 63) we were a bit slack at my family home about closing the side gates and the dogs getting out. It was common in those days for dogs to be seen walking out and about. One afternoon, I couldn’t find my 10 year dog Australian terrier anywhere. In the subsequent weeks I looked everywhere, walking around the extended neighbourhood and calling his name in the hope that he might hear me from someone’s backyard. l letterboxed and spent a small fortune advertising in newspapers for his return – with sizeable reward. For 6 months I visited local pounds once a week looking at all the new dogs (they had to hold them for 8 days before rehoming or euthanising). This was before the days of microchips. I drove miles in response to the odd telephone call saying that a dog like that had been recently seen in that area, even many miles away. I never got my Ricky back and it was and remains the most painful episode of my life, as he was a wonderful intelligent dog, full of the joy of living. I still occasionally have nightmares about it – or have dreamt about my subsequent dogs going missing. I learnt a very hard lesson on that occasion and have been extra careful with my dogs since. I would never leave them unattended outside a store and worry about other dogs that I see like this. I only ever leave my 2 dogs in the car when it is cool weather, but in the light of the information in the above article, will now reconsider this.
    Once when I was ill and unable to take my dogs for walks, I employed a professional dog walker only after a lot of detailed checking. I would never engage a young person or student living nearby, for example, to walk the dogs. Their security to me is as important as that of my children when they were young, (and I must confess I love them just as much) . Dog napping also occurs in Tasmania, and I know of a lady whose 2 young French bulldogs were taken from her backyard when she was having an afternoon nap. The police have also stated that there are organised dog fights in some remote areas – a sickening thought.
    Having pets is a great responsibility and I am a worrier when it comes to their security and wellbeing – this applies to my cats too. It’s for this reason that I have deferred any trips overseas. As much as my husband and I would love to go, I don’t think the anxiety about my beloved animals (including worrying about their separation anxiety) would be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marg, the love and compassion you have for your animals pours out from your words. Together with the angst of losing Ricky.

      Now that we are back safe and sound, I can reveal that Jeannie and I went away for the night on Tuesday. We went to Brookings on the coast (few photos on Sunday). The first time we have been away together since we met 10 years go; still haven’t had our honeymoon!

      All because of not wanting to leave the dogs and, especially, not leaving Pharaoh alone.

      Then again, when we moved to these very rural acres in 2012, two of our dogs, Chester and Paloma, ran off into the ‘bush’. We found Paloma but never saw Chester again. Jean still weeps for his loss.


  3. A very hard to read post. Even micro chipping a pet isn’t enough to protect them. The idea that there are people out there that would do such horrible things to animals hurts my heart.


  4. This is a very significant article and I’m so glad that you posted this. There are dog napping rings everywhere. These people steal a bunch of dogs, take them to a large city, flea markets several hundred miles away or go out of state to sell the stolen dogs. They obtain fake registration papers and sell the pets for hundreds and thousands of dollars. I spoke with one wealthy lady in my neighbor hood whose beautiful poodle was stole from inside her home. The thieves broke a back patio sliding door to get her dog. This occurred in the small town of Hillsboro, Texas.

    It is something you just never get over. I’ve read books about missing pets and tips about how to have a bit of leverage to get the pet back, Fliers should be placed in every conceivable area. State the reward money for as much as you can afford and the value that you place on your pet. Put ads in newspapers Craig’s list and FB that has a group for your city/area. In my area there are two groups. Put your poster in every vet’s office and the animal shelters. There are also national registries, A good photo of the pet should be on the poster. As stated in the article, a microchip is a must but many times if the animal is stolen for profit, that is of little to no help. It is essential to make certain that you animal has been spayed/neutered. Sometimes that is a deterrent because pets are often stolen for breeding.

    And pets are stolen and used as bait for fighting dogs as someone stated. There is no end to what thieves will do to steal a pet or what the motivation might be, During Halloween black cats are often a target and cult groups will use then for sacrifice.

    A local vet had one of her clinic cats stolen. I think that it was likely taken by an employee or maybe it was a client. In the past she ran an emergency clinic and sometimes worked it alone after 12mn. Her add was 3k or 5k- don’t remember exactly. I don’t think she ever got her cat back.

    One can not be too careful; Guard your pet like you would protect your child or money. Never take a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find myself having two emotional responses to your valuable comment. The first is that this is really good advice. The second is that it is so sad that there are some who stoop to these levels. Dogs are so open and honest, so quick to love and so quick to let you know that they love being loved by a human. I know it’s so naive but I really wish the whole world was like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Common sense protection for our pets often needs good reminders like this that we live in a world that is full of crimes against defenceless animals. We must think differently and preempt scenarios that put our pets at risk.


  6. Very informative post that shed light on a subject not commonly spoken about. I will absolutely be more cognizant of this! I have heard about people whose animals get stolen right out of their backyard as you reported. Craziness! Great information!


    1. That’s so lovely to hear from you! Thank you. What’s that old saying about the only thing that evil requires is for good people to do nothing, or something like that! I’m sure you get my drift!!

      Liked by 1 person

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