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 recently "found" a nice park and decided to take my Golden with me next time I walked there. Well, I walk a lot so it seemed like a short walk to me. She was so excited. We got about half way around and she's clearly fading. I starting looking for shorter ways back to the car. Now she's panting like crazy. Yes, I had water but she wouldn't touch it. Now I'm scared. I thought of tying her up and driving the car closer. It was early in the morning and hadn't gotten too hot yet so I really thought we were going to be OK. We made it back but I was concerned that someone would steal her if I left her (she's VERY friendly) and we had slowed to a crawl. It was a scary moment and made me think more about her physical condition. I know I was stupid. Believe me I felts o guilty for not considering what I would do if it was too long of a distance for her. Now we stick to walks in the neighborhood. She's not overweight; she's 10 years old and though she still acts like a pup, she's not.

Janet W.

I don't own a dog but, ppl need to be responsible for their pet. Thugs don't only steal your dog for a profit of returning it, they also use (YOUR) Pet as bait for dog fighting! That would be my worst nightmare, so think before you leave your pet alone (ANYWHERE) "They are "FAMILY"


I used to move quite often and my 2 Siamese where probably the best travelled cats on the planet. One thing to keep in mind is that these guys are much, much less heat tolerant that humans. in conditions where I would just roll down the window a little if I were by myself I would have to turn the AC on (and wear a sweater) because the cats would be too hot. Other then that and the fact that I had to leave them "free to move around" in the car (not in a crate) they seemed to like the car. I realize this is dangerous(and I am not yalking about spilling their drinking water), and I drove extra carefully but having them in a crate for 2 weeks was not an option. We went from Houston to Seattle via Arizone-California rout number 1 (moving and sight seeing). A different hotel every night... or a camp ground: no problem, they were just curious all the time. I guess even cats, when are well "bonded" with their human are fine wherever as long as they are with you.
However, they did VERY poorly when left at a "spa for cats", no matter how nice the accomodations and the people... actually I was told once that they would not be welcome back another time...!!


Let's put it this way, would you leave a child alone in a car (even for a few minutes) whether it's hot, cool, cold etc. with a window "cracked", moon roof ajar, or the a/c on with the motor running? I would hope not! So why would you leave a companion animal in the car unattended under these same conditions? You can love your pet and still be an IDIOT!


I'm in Michigan and there have been several incidents of cars being broken into and dogs stolen. One incident was while the owner was having a cup of coffee with a friend and the car was parked by the window so they could watch the dogs. The thieves broke the window and got the dogs before the owner could get to them. There have also been two incidents where older people were walking their dogs in their neighbor and thieves with guns stop and demand the dogs or the owner will be shot. I take my dog with me but only leave her in the car if I'm really going to be a minute and can see her the entire time I'm in the establishment. If we have a day of drive thru errands - bank, etc. she goes. I've never been as cautious as I've been lately.


I agree with all the comments about leaving your special furry friends in cars, but another thing that bugs me is to see dogs sitting on their owner's laps while they are driving. In an emergency situation, the poor dog doesn't have a chance. We have a harness seat belt for our Jack Russell and she is secured in the back seat where she can put her head out the window, or just be there able to look out the window.That is a much safer option and we can concentrate on our driving without a distraction.


I have seen a guy riding a motorbike with a dog (labrador size) on his lap... I did not hallucinate, I saw him twice-so it was not a one time stunt! and I am not sure how it is possible that he did-does not get pulled over by police.


For people feeling the urge of indignation concerning dogs left in cars, they should come to the Dallas -Fort Worth area and they can have a 24 hour a day job calling the "owners"... except I would not call them names since there is no telling what gun is under their seat (Texas).
Personnally I have never had a dog (or a gun :-) and I feel it is rather degrading to myself to be judgemental and it is also really stupid. Calling people names wont make them change habits. A lot of people know nothing really about the needs and communication with the animals they live with. So I would start with education... rather broadly.
Would I leave a pet in a car for 10 minutes in the shade, with windows cracked and water to drink when it is under 60 degrees outside, if I can see the car at all times? probably yes. It is all about common sense. We all take risks, all the time, it is all about calculates risks. Would I live a young child alone the car? no. But then again I do not leave a child unattended at home either, under ANY circumstances.

lisa marie

Besides people taking dogs, you have to be careful. Cyotes and hawks are stealing small pets. Please don't leave pets unattended.


Yes, I do leave my boys in the car and feel ok with it. If it is too hot,I leave the air is running. If not the windows are down. I am sure you know when your attention is unwanted. It is a personal decision that we all must take responsibility for.
Wow! Just wow........