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.

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I for one do not take my animals in the vehicle unless they go with me. I have heard so many different horror stories this summer alone. I also do not let my babies outside unless I am
with them.


My mother's Yorkie was stolen during a break in at her home. He has been missing for 2 weeks and it just goes to prove that the smaller high demand dogs are not even safe in their own home. I have a LARGE breed dog and everyone is afraid of her and I like it that way! Very sad for my mom to have lost her Yorkie...


Rachel -So sorry about your mom's yorkie, that's just terrible.


Yes there are shelters that are full of poor, mistreated, unwanted & stray dogs. In my town 75% of the dogs in shelters are of the bully variety, now I adore bullies but they are not for everyone. Alot of people go on craigslist here and get yelled at for not adopting a dog from the shelter. They already tried the shelter and felt a bully would not fit into the family. Some people cannot have that breed due to restrictions on insurance or landlords' rules. Most of the smaller pure breeds & mixes in our shelters are snatched up by breed specific rescues, making it hard for someone who wanted to adopt for the $40 amount our shelters charge and now must pay $200 - $300 for a rescue. Just becuase someone breeds a dog does not make them a puppy mill for greed. I personally have fostered, rescued trained and adopted out serveral dogs and cats that were strays or simply unwanted. I fixed them, vaccinated them and they on to great homes. I also show my pure breeds. Non of my pure bred dogs came from puppy mills and I was able to inspect their homes and play with the pups and parents before making a decision. They came from reputable breeders. Before you go pointing fingers and yelling "shame on you", I have worked in shelters and am a liason for helping to keep dogs in their homes. I am part of a group of dog trainers who are contacted by shelters when an owner wants to surrender a dog.

Use common sense. I cannot fathom the amount of people out there that still insist on letting their dogs out to do their business on front lawns. I can't even keep track of the number of times a dog has darted out in the middle of the road and nearly been hit by me and other drivers here. And those people who insist on leaving their dogs & kids in a hot car. I never take my dogs anywhere they cannot accompany me. There is a nice older gentleman in my neighborhood who has his GSD lured out of his gate and stolen. He is so heartbroken but learned a lesson about having a dog outside. I never let my gulible dogs out alone without letting my toy poodle (alarm dog)out with them and even then, I am watching their every move. My little toy poodle has a very special bark that lets me know there is something wrong. She no fear and a very big mouth. She is one of my rescues and one of the smartest dogs I own.


Absolutely. Common sense is key. I recently purchased a home in rural Ohio and went out there alone with a truck full of stuff and the first thing was to have a 6 foot high fenced area constructed for when I am out there and have the dogs with me. I contacted the fence company from IL and told them I was coming out there and what I wanted. The next week I was in Ohio and they were busy setting posts in cement. The owner of the company told me it is very very rare in that area for someone to do that much. I cannot fence 5+ acres so I had him do an area off the back of the house. I can let them out the kitchen door and they are inside an area of 6 foot high chain link with a locked gate. I extends 30+ feet off the rear of the house and is also 30+ feet wide. Just that little bit, done properly with a pipe running along the bottom so it cannot be pushed out, cost over 2k. Meanwhile my neighbors out there let their dogs run loose and without tags. I cannot understand that but according to the fence guy, that's how it is out there. The first time I was out there just walking around the house checking out the area, a beautiful yellow lab came up to me and followed me around. Being from IL near Chicago, I thought he must be lost and was going to take him in. It turned out he belonged to my new neighbor and he lives outside. A distance of 500 miles only between my house in IL and my house in Ohio, but we are worlds apart when it comes to how we treat our animals.


I love my dog and even though he loves to go for car rides, he only gets to go along to places where I don't leave him alone in the car: the trash dump, the park, the outdoor ice cream place that gives away free pup cups (ice cream with a dog biscuit)with purchase. However, recently I was heading to a family reunion which was about a nine hour drive. At the last minute my significant other was called out of town on business and was not able to make the trip. It was a holiday weekend and all the kennels were full up and we were not able to secure anyone to dog sit. I suppose the more extreme commenters would say "cancel the trip", but I chose instead to go ahead on my own. While I stopped a couple of times so the dog and I could eat and drink and let the puppy use the potty, it it illegal for us humans to potty in public. My only choice was to roll down all the windows and leave the dog in the car with a bowl of water while I sprinted into the restroom, took care of business, and sprinted back. I managed to make the round trip in under 5 minutes, worried the whole time sometime might remove him from the car - whether it be for criminal or for rescue purposes. I would encourage everyone to stand up for dogs and help to educate other dog owners when it comes to leaving a dog in the car (how little time it takes for the temp to rise to dangerous levels even on a nice day), but to also take a moment to completely assess the situation before they act.


Keep them inside when you're not home and use PUPPY PADS! They've saved me a lot of frustration and I know my dogs are safer inside then running around the back yard when I'm not home. Dogs find ways to get out...I don't know how but they do.

Louisa Cornell

I realize we all love our dogs and want them with us all the time. However, the most responsible and kindest thing we can do for our companions is to leave them at home! Of course taking them to the vet or to boarding or to visit a friend or family is different. But taking them with us to run errands or for a ride or for any trip that isn't necessary is selfish. I see entirely too many dogs waiting in cars for their owners - suffering the heat, the cold, barking until they can hardly breathe, at risk from bunchers, dog thieves and dog fighters looking for bait. THINK! They trust us not to ever put them in danger. We owe them that at the very least. Leave them at home!

Leah Shirokoff

We all used to tie our dogs up to the bench or a pole while running in a store. Not anymore, but it was nice for the dog to get an outing. I do condone stealing a dog that is being abused and authorities do not help. Yes, jail time is possible, but occasionally worth the risk - and I'm not talking about the dog tied up while someone goes in the store.

You cannot show dogs from the shelters. The goal is healthy, great temperamented joys to own and very very rarely does a dog show person make any profit. Any money coming in goes out to showing, testing and caring for the dogs. Almost never is it even a break even deal.

Lisa Labowskie

Our local shelters in the Palm Springs, Ca. area-when overwhelmed with dogs and cats, will hold LOW cost $20.00 adoption events. Further, their shots and spaying/neutering is often included or offered at a low cost to the adopting party. My hope is that the adopting family will then be able to afford good (not just the poor quality cheap food), vitamins, spay/ neuter and veterinary care. ... So if you are thinking of adopting, please do consider that pets can be expensive.
Here is a good option for those wanting to adopt: If you truly want a specific breed, please go to SPECIFIC BREED RESCUE SITES ! Ex: "German Shepherd Rescue"...and you will be happy to find wonderful dogs for adoption on those web sites ...:o) Best Regards, L.L.