While pet theft has always been a risk, the American Kennel Club reports that petnappings have increased 32% since last year. The reason for this dramatic increase is unknown, but the numbers make one thing very clear, it is absolutely essential that you learn how to protect your pet.
The first step in protecting your pet is to educate yourself about the dangers and risks of cat and dognappings. Most animals are snatched from parked cars or while tied up outside stores. And while it might seem difficult or impossible for someone to steal an animal in a matter of minutes or seconds, you’d be surprised how easily and quickly it is done by experienced and determined thieves.
The following tips will help ensure your pet remains safe.
1. Schedule your daily and weekly errands with your dog’s safety in mind. Schedule trips to pet-friendly establishments on the same day, and then bring your pooch along for the ride. Leave your dog at home when running other errands. This way, you won’t need to risk leaving your dog unattended outside.
2. Watch your pet very closely at dog parks and in other off-leash areas. Pet thieves sometimes watch these areas for easy targets. This also applies to your yard. If your front yard is not fenced, do not leave your pet outside alone for even a few minutes. Confine your dog to the back yard.
3. Do not ever leave your cat or dog in your car unattended. It is not safe when the weather is cool. It is not safe with the windows down. It is not safe with the doors locked and the AC running. Not only is your pet at risk of a temperature-related emergency, he can harm himself while alone in a car, and he is an easy target for pet thieves.
4. Make sure your dog or cat wears a collar with identification and license tags at all times. The American Dog Trainers Network recommends including the word “REWARD” on the ID tag in capital letters before your address and phone number. Do not include your pet’s name, as this may give dog thieves additional control over your animal.
5. Microchip your pet as soon as possible to significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll be contacted if he is found. Microchipping is a safe procedure that is an essential part of protecting your animal.
6. Do not offer detailed information about your dog to strangers. Pet thieves may stop you while you are taking your dog for a walk and ask about his breed, cost, and name. Giving them this information may put your dog at greater risk.