Pet theft is a serious problem that continues to rise. Did you know an estimated 2 million animals are stolen each year? Thieves will steal pets for a variety of unpleasant reasons, including selling them to research facilities, dog fighting, puppy mills, and holding them for ransom. And unfortunately, only a reported 10% of those 2 million are returned to their rightful owners.
As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to be safe and sound. Here are several practical, proactive steps we can take to help ensure our pets are safe from thievery:
Pets should wear proper identification at all times. In addition to the collar and tags, you can implant a small microchip into your pet that allows shelters and vets to scan it for contact information. It is crucial to keep your information up to date on tags, microchips, with your veterinarian, as well as your pet’s groomer or boarding kennel. These are all places that help with lost and found pets on a regular basis and can help ensure your pet is safely returned.
It can take just a few seconds for pet nappers to grab your animal, so do not leave a pet unattended outside even if you have a fenced in yard. Keep all fences and gates securely locked to avoid a curious pet slipping out. It’s also very easy to quickly grab them or break into a vehicle so you should never leave your pet unattended outside a store or in a car.
Busy dog parks are a popular spot for thieves – they’ll often have one talk to you as a distraction while the other snatches your dog. Make sure to always have your eye on your pet and not allow strangers to distract you.
It’s always a good idea to have your pet on a leash regardless of their age or level of comfort with the surrounding area. All it takes is a few seconds or one unusual occurrence for your animal to run out of sight and potentially be in danger of being stolen while roaming outside.
Having your pet spayed or neutered can also help prevent pet theft. One main reason being pets that are fixed are less likely to roam around outside, and the other being that thieves looking to steal pets for breeding are in the market for unfixed animals.
Have a recent photo of your pet on you at all times. In the event that your pet does go missing, this will be a great help for you to make posters to hang around your neighborhood with your contact information.
Another key way to prevent pet theft is to make sure you aren’t unknowingly supporting thieves by purchasing stolen animals. Avoid buying animals directly off the internet, at flea markets, parking lots, along roadsides or even some pet stores.
Always check to make sure you’re sourcing animals through a reputable shelter or an accredited breeder. Check the state of a breeder’s home and meet the puppy’s mother and littermates to ensure the pets are being treated properly and that the facility is up to code with breeding standards.
Help keep pets out of harm’s way with these safety tips for preventing pet theft. Have questions or comments? Want to schedule your microchipping appointment with us at Grand Valley Animal Hospital? Give us a call today at 757.3500.