Dog theft

Sindi Barrios

Dog theft may be in the news, but it is nothing new – it featured 1934 Mickey Mouse short “Dognapper” and in the 1947 Poirot story “The Nemean Lion”. But as cartoon mice and Belgian detectives are thin on the ground in the 21st Century, dog owners do need to be on their guard.

So, what do you need to do to keep your dog safe?

First, don’t panic or overly fret. About 62% of missing pets are simply lost. Not that there’s anything simple about a lost dog or that heart wrenching sudden feeling of emptiness it brings. But the very same measures you’d take to help prevent stop your dog getting lost (and help it be found) will help protect them against theft.

The basics

All common sense, all things you already know, but like a fire drill – repetition saves lives:

Preventative measures

Always err on the side of caution. A few tiny changes to everyday habits can make your dog a whole lot safer.

It is not paranoia if they are after you

Listen to other dog walkers and keep an eye on what the local dog owning Facebook group are saying. If they report suspicious activity or people, assume they’re right. Better to take unnecessary precautions, than fail to prepare. When on high alert:

Worst case scenario

If your dog goes missing or is stolen – don’t delay. Act immediately.

One missing dog agency estimates that 38% of all lost dogs are the result of theft and that some 60% of these are never recovered. A frankly horrible statistic. While the steps above cannot guarantee your dog’s security, having a plan makes them easier to find when lost and the lives of thieves more difficult. And frankly, they deserve it!

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!