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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Sasha Beckett

People pick on small dogs. The defenseless ones.


I live in a hot/dry climate. My dogs love going for drives in my car but I would NEVER think to leave them in the car, even for 5 minutes. People don't realize how hot a car can get even with the windows down.

Recently I stopped off at a large warehouse store and I noticed a large dog lying in a van. The doors were locked and the windows cracked just an inch or two. The dog was panting hard. I waited afew minutes and went in with the licence plate number and asked if they would call out to the owner over the louspeaker. No one came. I was told by the store security that they could not do anything to remove the dog and to call the police. I went back out and the dog was in obvious stress. Luckily they were quick to arrive and remove the dog from the car which was like an oven. Just as they got there, another shopper saw me and was going to help me pry the window open to remove the dog. I was told another 10 minutes and it would have been too late.

They waited for the owner, who came out of that store about 20 minutes later. She said she only ran into the store for 5 minutes.

Please use some common sense and do not leave your animal in the car even if you are going to be away for afew minutes.


Krissa- I agree with your doing that. I have done that too. One day last summer here in Florida I, my 2 kids and 2 Goldens made a stop at the video store. Even at 5pm, the summer FL sun and heat was still oppressive. So, of course, I left the car running with A/C on and doors locked-... just in case. Anyway, we parked next to a minivan. In it was a small Chihauha in direct sunlight; windows only down 2 inches! Poor dog was on hind legs with front paws on steering wheel panting like crazy. I noticed the dog right away as I got out of my car. I was alarmed and sad. I asked everyone in the video store who owned the minivan, expressing concern for the annimal's distress and no one admitted to it. I informed an employee of my concern. He shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Then, this guy behind me in the checkout line says angrily, "I own the minivan and the dog is just fine. It's not too hot for him and he's only been in there for a FEW minutes. I informed him of his neglect and abuse and that he could be charged and fined for animal cruelty with just a simple phone call to the SPCA ...(my phone in hand),# in presets/contacts...ready to dial. He became defensive immediately with me...a near arguement started. I paid for my movie rental and walked out, glaring at him over my shoulder. I waited in my car to make sure the dog was not left in that overheated minivan any longer. Common sense seems is not common enough these days. Jeez. My actions were of concern, not of accusation or harassment, judgement. Some people just don't get it! Clueless


How judgmental. If it's not a hot day and the windows are generously cracked open, my dog would much rather be with me, even if he had to wait a few minutes while I run into a store, than "cozy and comfortable" at home... there is no such thing for my dog, he misses me terribly when I'm not there and hates to be left home. I leave him home on warm days out of necessity because I don't want to risk him, and he is always miserable to be left alone.


Some people are so pious and self righteous. Yes, it's dangerous to leave a dog in a hot car for even five minutes. However, some of these people are talking about on a cool day. I've never had to leave my dog unattended in the car, and never would if the temperature was above 65, but you don't know what weather these people left their dogs in. I've had to sit in a car that's not running for half an hour at a time waiting for someone. I might not have a fur coat, but in some regions, it can be pretty comfortable, even in a car.

It's just that this mouth-foaming screaming witch hunt is making it harder and harder for some people to take intelligent, common-sense pet advice seriously. I'm tired of telling people they need to stop doing this or that with their pets and having them think I'm one of /those/ people. When you have people calling others "monstrous" (no one here) for using a water spray bottle on their cat, it drowns out the rest of the should-be common sense from pet lovers. Calm down, people.


I totally agree with Alma. Most people need to experience just how hot the inside of a car can get. Try cracking a few windows and sit inside your car; then the message will come through loud and clear.

My other concern is during these hot summer months people take their dogs with them to exercise during the warmest times of the day. While they're wearing as little as possible, with a water bottle at their side, their poor dogs have no water and are wearing a fur coat.

Gwendolyn Harner

I agree w/ CA Animal Welfare Association. Even if your beloved pet doesn't die from the experience, they can be left quite ill, often permanently. I love my "girls" DEARLY and they seem to know which visits they can go along on and which ones I "can't" take them on by ?? (what I wear? who knows?) Anyway, I run my errands ALONE because you never know what delays may befall you (and if someone ever stole my "girls" or they died/fell ill because of something that *I* did to them, I'd be devastated! Of COURSE they are always happier when they are with you, as you are leader of the pack! And I'm always happier when I'm with the "girls" and plan on staying that way by saving their car rides to play dates! :-D


My dog was comfortable in (her) truck. I would leave the back window open and many times when I went outside. I would find her in the truck. That was security for her.

Don't forget that in CA there is a fine for leaving your dog in the car. The cops will break your window, remove your dog, and fine you. Just leave Poochy at home.

Kate C.

While in general, I don't think dogs should be left in cars, there are many dogs with separation anxiety that are completely distraught if left home alone, no matter how "cozy" it is there, but are perfectly happy to wait in the car for their owners. I am in no way saying that it is necessarily the safest thing to leave a dog in a car, but sometimes there is good reason behind it (if weather permits). That said, it breaks my heart when people have dogs that are panicked and barking hysterically at everything that goes past while they are left in the car. There is absolutely NO reason to bring that type of dog in a car "for fun."