Dog Thefts Rising: Keeping Them Safe, Finding Them if Stolen

Posted August 23, 2011 in Animal Law by Arthur Buono

Yes it’s the tail end of the dog days of summer, and sadly thefts of dogs are rising like the temperature. The American Kennel Club reports a 49 percent increase in dog thefts in 2011 over 2010. Let’s see how you can prevent the theft of your dog, and possibly get your dog if it’s stolen.

  • Dog thefts rising, thieves look to profit from sale or reward
  • Unattended dogs most likely to be stolen; protect your dog just as you value it
  • Recovering a stolen dog takes determination, resources
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Protecting Your Dog from Theft Easier than Getting It Back


Obviously, preventing your dog’s theft is the most important thing. Unattended dogs are the most likely targets of theft. I see well-mannered dogs left outside stores and businesses all over town while their owners go inside. It’s cute but not secure. Dogs have been stolen from parked cars too. Keep your dogs at home while conducting business.

Dogs left visibly unattended in an outside yard are also targets for thieves. If you don’t have a secure, private yard, you should keep an eye on your dog when it’s outside. Besides, unattended dogs have been known to jump fences and slip or force gates. Runaway dogs can get into trouble fast.

Besides these, what other precautions should you take?

  • Have the dog microchipped. Most shelter dogs are chipped before let out for adoption. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, have your vet chip him or her. The chip is positive identification of your dog, and cuts off any he said/she said stalemates about ownership.
  • As soon as your dog goes missing, report the fact to your local shelter(s), animal control departments, and police (especially if you believe the dog was stolen).
  • Get the word out to neighbors and friends immediately too. The more eyes on the case, the better.
  • Post fliers in the neighborhood and/or area where the dog disappeared. To do this right, you’ll need to have good, representative pictures of your dog handy.
  • Post an entry for the dog on You can do the same thing on Craigslist and of course in your local newspapers, the print and online versions.
  • If someone contacts you, be wary of fraud. Also, don’t count out the chance the person with your dog may be the thief. In that case your reward is ransom. Take a friend along with you when meeting the contact. Alert police if you’re at all suspicious.
  • This San Francisco woman hired a private investigator, and it paid off. It costs money, but it might not be as much as you think in relation to all of the money you’ve spent on the dog’s normal feeding, care and veterinary bills.

Related Apps for Your Smartphone* – Mobile app for finding and adopting pets. Free
Pet First Aid – Mobile health and first aid tips that could save your pet’s life. $3.99 – Dog park finder app. Free

*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.

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