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 totally agree with Mia. The lady that wanted a dog but could not afford the adoption fee has to be realistic. You should get a dog/pet because you are able to provide him/her with a good home. a good home would mean heart worm prevention,flea prevention, shots, dental care, good nutrition,medical check-ups, toys, etc.. All of that can add up, (trust me). the shelters barely ask to recoup the cost of neutering/spaying,microchipping, vet care. If you can not provide a good home for a pet. don't be selfish, dont get one!! a lot of cities are looking for fosters, they provide food, & medical care,she should check into that option instead.


Lynn, I appreciate the fact that you are disabled and in financial distress. I have been there in the past, and don't care to revisit it ever again. But what I don't understand about your situation is this. If you are in dire straits and, as you put it, "well below poverty level", how do you then afford to not only purchase a dog, but also everything that goes along with responsible dog ownership - tags, microchip, screenings, vaccines, heartworm & flea/tick prevention meds, emergency care, annual exams, food, etc? If you are "poor", then how can you afford these necessities? The cost for any pet does not stop with its purchase fee and kibble. They need ongoing care and treatment to live healthy, happy lives.

The fact that you somehow can afford internet access is somewhat understandable, given that you are disabled. It's important to be connected to the outside world. But I have to wonder how your financial circumstances affect the welfare of your pet. I certainly thought everything through before adopting my dog, and did so only after I was well able to afford all that comes along with it. I have a savings account set aside for her in the event of an emergency and pay monthly premiums for her pet insurance. It was not until I knew that I could provide for every need, including the unforeseeable, that I applied for adoption.

I surely don't deny your need for the love and companionship of your dog. I just wonder if it was a wise decision under the circumstances.


I think that some die-hard activists need to realistically look at what you consider "good" care of a dog. Until recent years, microchips didn't exist and everyone put a tag on their dog or made sure to keep an eye on them when they were outside. Does that make everyone prior to the invention of the microchip a "bad" dog owner? Likewise for extensive medical care... Canine veterinary specialization is a recent phenomenon due to increased funding for animal care research and development. I think it's wrong for you to assume that an animal parent is a "bad" owner if they don't choose to or can't afford to give their dog chemotherapy, orthopedic surgery, expensive monthly flea treatments or other specialty services (acupuncture, massage therapy... the list is endless). Why is it not OK for someone with less funds to choose flea shampoos, an identification collar and to choose not to pursue advanced medical treatments that often only prolong a painful life for an animal. It is quite pompous to say that only people with high levels of discretionary income deserve to own a pet.

I can tell you that when I was living on my own and trying to go to college, I ate white potatoes and ramen noodles almost every night. I was blessed if/when I had meat on the table. At that time, I had two cats that I loved dearly. They kept my very unstable life in one piece and were often the only thing positive I had to look forward to in my days. They loved me even if they didn't get acupuncture or massage therapy and I loved them with all my heart. I often went without so that they could eat decent cat food. I saved every spare dime for months and months to ensure they received annual vaccinations/worming and I kept them indoors to minimize the chance of accidental injuries. Was I a "bad" owner because I couldn't buy them super premium food? Was I a "bad" owner because I couldn't afford microchips? Was I a "bad" owner because I chose to let them pass away peacefully in my arms instead of going through months of painful chemotherapy when they developed cancer later in life? I think not...

I would have crumbled without the love of my pets and I still would today. Stop insisting that every pet owner has to be well off and start remembering all of the dogs/cats who die in shelters every day. I'm sure any one of them would have been ecstatic to have a warm bed with a caring human being to love them instead of a needle in their paw that ended their life, even if they didn't get the best of everything this overly materialistic world has to offer.


You are a wonderful owner.. as long as the pets basic vet needs are taken care of and the pet is loved..I think its crazy for anyone to say the animal is better off in a shelter or worse yet being euthanized..


Thank you for posting this. What people often forget is that a little love goes a long way with dogs and cats. Besides a good quality (or the best quality you can afford--does not have to be expensive) food, water and a roof over their heads, dogs need little more than daily exercise (so a good quality collar and leash are important, along with an ID tag), spay/vaccinations (and it is my opinion that animals are overvaccinated in America), veterinary care (which can get expensive, I agree; however, there are low cost vets out there), a few toys (just a $1 squeaky ball makes a great toy), some treats, discipline, and affection--lots and lots of your time and love. Three of the things I listed don't even cost any money. They only require your time. In many ways, people who can easily afford all of the bells and whistles (dental cleaning? a simple doggy toothbrush and toothpaste will do) for their dogs do not give them what they need the most--time spent with them. So, again, thank you for your post which reminded me of what animal ownership is really about--not how much money you can spend on them, but how much love you can give them. And that all dogs would love a chance to be loved by a human, even one who cannot afford dental cleanings at the vet's office. As a society, if we all helped one another when we are at points in our lives where we cannot afford an emergency vet bill, become homeless or even cannot afford food for our dogs, then more animals would be able to stay with their families and not end up in shelters. The same could be said of children--we all need to help one another out more on an individual, neighborhood basis, instead of murdering animals because some people are too poor at the time to give them what they need. I have bought collars/leashes/treats/toys/food etc for animals whose owner could not provide for them at different periods, as well as took them in when their owner was homeless for 4 months. Those dogs showed me every day how grateful they were for my kindness. We all need to learn how to be kinder to each other as well as to animals.


Lynn ~ You are sadly misinformed about Shelter & Rescue Dogs. I have been volunteering for a rescue in my home town for over a year. We do have an adoption fee of $175.00. We HAVE to ask that because we have to get the dogs spayed or neurtered before we can adopt them out. The vets charge us around $125.oo to do this. Then there is the shots and vet charge. We in no way "make money" off of this donation fee. We are all volunteers and no one makes a penny on dogs. Our recent rescue was thrown out of a car and the person behind stopped and grabbed the dog and took to a vet. The vet called us and we took the poor baby in. We paid for her surgery which was around $700 and she ended up dying from her head injury anyway. Another recent rescue was a 12 year old Doxon who got old and her "family" didn't want her anymore. We were told she was healthy and when she went to the vet to get checked out, every single tooth was rotten and had to come out. Her surgery was $700 plus.
Dogs get sick and need medical attention. If you don't have money because your poor what are you going to do when your dog needs to go to the vet? That is one of our concerns when we get applications from poor people who want a dog. We love all of our dogs and when they are given a second chance, we don't want them to end up suffering again because the owner cannot afford to care for them. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. By the way, we have adopted to seniors or low income and reduced our adoption fee before, if the adopter has a way to care for them. All you have to do is ask and let the rescue know your situation. It's always better to adopt from a rescue or shelter, because your helping not one, but more than one!!!


Hi, I saw your post and it saddens me that someone who would love the company of a dog may not be able to afford one.. Dogs are very helpful for seniors and I would just like to let you know that the Humane Society had programs to help match seniors with dogs and a very reduced rat. they even provide low cost vet services for low and fixed income.. they would be a good resource to help you obtain and keep a pet.. like you said loving a dog is good therapy for both you and the dog and everyone deserves that


Lynn, I don't know where you live, but around here, the shelters have been so overwhelmed with cats and dogs that all of them have been adopting out at little to no cost (adult cats =free; dogs = $17, etc). That barely covers the cost of the paperwork, much less the food, shots, etc. I have a problem believing that ANY breeder could beat those prices. No to mention the rescue organizations that eat the cost of fostering, medical attention, transportation, etc., asking for only a minimal adoption fee in return.


I totally agree with you Lynn. I breed poms and I don't charge what the others do because I wanted to give others a chance to own this breed if they liked the breed. I have been doing this for over 15 yrs....I only breed if I know others are wanting one, not for the money....I have poms (my babies) I rescued a mini dox and love him to death also, my daughter has a boxer so I am doing my Dogs are great companions!! My dogs are my kids!!!!


Wow! That's a sad statement of the "shelter" you dealt with! I think, if I found that to be the practice at a shelter, I'd fire off so many letters and post so many notices, there would eb an investigation. Remember this: many so-called "shelters" and "animal rescues" are a ruse to make money, without any real concern for animals or their welfare. Always check out "charities" and EXPOSE the frauds-- loud and clear-- and contact the authorities with complaints and concerns (valid) to REALLY rescue the poor creatures being held hostage by unscrupulous con-artists. Remember: we are the voice for animals.