Dognapping On the Rise—Protect Your Pet

Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:15am

Pet theft is on the rise. The American Kennel Club, which has been tracking pet thefts since 2007, reported a 32% increase in dog thefts last year.

While some animals are snatched from their yards or during home invasions, opportunistic thieves most commonly steal dogs left in cars or tied up outside stores. In the ASPCA’s hometown of New York City, dognappings skyrocket every summer as pet parents take advantage of nice weather to combine dog-walking with errand-running.

Protect Your Pet
Avoid becoming a victim of this heartbreaking crime!

  • When running errands around town, visit pet-friendly establishments or please leave your dog at home.
  • Keep a close eye on your pet in designated off-leash areas, where he could become a target for criminals looking to make a quick buck. (Pet thieves often try to resell—or even hold for ransom—stolen dogs.)
  • Avoid leaving your pet unattended in the front yard, especially if your lawn is exposed or accessible.
  • The same rules apply for leaving your pet tied up outside a store. In addition to being vulnerable to theft and teasing, your dog might escape or get injured.
  • Microchip your pet! Microchipping can often mean the difference between temporary and permanent separation from your furry loved one.

For more important information about what to do if your pet is missing, please read our article on Finding a Lost Pet.

Add new comment




I have heard several disturbing stories of dogs being stolen to be used as bait dogs for dog fighting rings. Dogs stolen out of yards and cars. Dog owners, please watch your dogs like they are your children. It's a scary world out there.

Judy Boyko

Anyone who intentionally leaves a pet in a car or tied up somewhere shouldn't have an animal to begin with. These are the same people who say they wouldn't leave a child in a car or unattended but think nothing of leaving a pet. The word is "common sense" here.


I also never leave my tinks in a car unattended. But there have been times when I've taken her on trips alone that I've had to stop and buy her water in which case she had to be left in the car for moments. So sometimes it's unavoidable. She deserves to get to go out and enjoy things with me when it's appropriate she loves rides and seeing people. She is microchipped and I assure you that if anyone tried to take her they would be hunted and punished :) her life's been hard enough before I rescued her so anyone that threatens her happyness will suffer :) don't leave your dog unattended just so you can shop. Ive only done it to make sure her an I were hydrated and even then it was at gas stations where I could see her from inside. But do take your pups for rides or a little hike :) they deserve to have trips just for them :)

I live in LA and take my 80lb dog with me everywhere. Often she is tied up waiting for me patiently and calmly. She is now 7yrs old and although I worry about theft but not many people will try to steal a 80lb dog. I think it is more of a concern for puppies and smaller dogs?

What do you guys think?


What is wrong with people? Why are they turning everything into a negative- arguing & fighting on a thread about pet theft. Great informative article- Thank you! Smarten Up!

Damaris Massanet

Rebecca, did you really pay $1200 for a dog? For what? Do you have your dog so that you can bask in the "glory" of having expensive "things," just like a car or a mansion, or you have a dog to love and take care of him/her? You make me want to throw up. As a rescuer for 15 years, I know this is the type of mentality that promotes overpopulation and killing of animals in the shelters. There are so many dogs dying in the shelters and in the streets that will give you as much love as your $1200 dog. A dog IS NOT AN OBJECT to show your friends how much money you have. It makes me sick to my stomach.


Honestly, after reading most of these posts, I'm more afraid of you dog activists and so-called "dog-rescuers" than I am of the actual criminals who take pets for resale or bait use in dog fighting. To all the dog activists and so-called "dog-rescuers" out there: You are not professionals nor should you act like it and take matters into your own hands. Call the real professionals if you see a problem. And as for those who are worried about someone napping their pooch: Be smart. If you think there is a risk then do what you can to eliminate this risk. But understand there is only so much you can do and a small risk may always be there (ie. we can't control a robbery on our house which might involve our pooch).

Sheri Skinner

Everyone, while I appreciate you all talking about rescuing a dog from a hot car or from a chain in the horrid heat as being 'theft', in many cases it is a 'last resort' thing to do... I've been doing rescue for a long time, and there are MANY stories of *repeated* calls to A/C and police by neighbors or passers by witnessing acts of animal neglect & cruelty (chaining in heat & locking in hot car both qualify)--and sometimes days go by without ANYTHING getting done, and the animal continues to suffer (and sometimes dies)... You can find cases like this all over the internet by doing a quick search, and it happens in all parts of the country. If I saw a dog suffering in a hot car, I would call A/C -- but if they didn't respond within a very few minutes, I would do whatever needed to get the dog out... not for the purpose of 'stealing' or 'selling' the dog, but to save the dog's LIFE! Anyone who does REAL rescue is not out to 'make a buck', but to help prevent unnecessary animal pain, fear, suffering, and death.


I agree Sheri - and REAL RESCUERS do not get on threads and blow their own horns! They rescue because it is the right thing to do!

Sheri Skinner

I was saying I've been doing this for a long time and have experience with/have heard about the non-response of A/C to distress calls, I wasn't trying to blow my own horn... I apologize if it came across that way, it's all about the animals and keeping them safe...