pet theft

You wake up just like you do every morning, put a leash on your dog, and walk down the street to your local coffee shop. And just like you do every day, you tie your dog’s leash to a bike rack bar and stroll into the cafe, eager for your morning cup. A few minutes later, you return with your latte in hand, but when you reach for the leash, it’s gone. You look up, down and all around, but your furry best friend is nowhere in sight… What went wrong?

July is Pet Loss Prevention Month, with July 5th annually being the busiest day of the year for shelters dealing with displaced pets who were spooked or ran off due to a fear of fireworks from the night before. A startling fact that inspired PetHub to highlight this issue, is that as many as two million pets get lost or stolen each year, while only about 10% make it back home safely.

Most pet theft and loss is preventable with these 7 easy things you can do to keep your pet safely with you:

 

  1. Proper Identification. If your dog gets out of the yard or runs out of your home, identification is one of the most basic and easy ways to ensure a happy reunion. In fact, the better the identification, the more likely you are to get them back. Proper identification includes: a physical ID tag, a microchip, and/or a city license. Another things to keep in mind is that the ID tag should contain your information, but not the pet’s name. Pets are more likely to go with a stranger if they are called by their name.

  2. Location. You should always know where your pet is at all times. Whether you’re at work, out with friends or just in another room of your home, knowing where your pet is can prevent your pet from getting lost or stolen. The best place for your pet is indoors. Especially if you’re not home, keeping your pet indoors will prevent most pet loss and theft from ever occurring. The most dangerous thing to do is leaving your pet outside unattended. Even if you have a fenced in yard, it’s still an open and easily accessible space that thieves can take advantage of to take your pet. If you absolutely have to leave your pet outside, then make sure the gates are locked and that your pet is not visible from the street. People looking to steal pets are less likely to take them if they cannot see them.

  3. Genotyping. With genetics now being so advanced, pet parents can easily have a genotype test done on their pet. That way, if the pet’s identity is ever in question, there will be solid proof to determine whether the pet in question is actually your pet.

  4. Current Records. Keeping up to date records on your pet is just as important. PetHub now offers an easy online profile where you can keep updated photos and medical information and other pertinent news on your pet.

  5. Neighborhood Watch. Keep an eye out for strangers in your neighborhood and be sure to report any strange or suspicious activities to the authorities.  Pets are a lot like children in that they are most vulnerable and can easily be deterred by a seemingly friendly stranger who might present them with a treat or another pet friend to play with.

  6. Get Them Fixed. Getting your pet fixed not only helps prevent many illnesses, it also makes your pet less likely to wander away from home. Pets that are intact are more likely to stray in search of a mate, and in doing so can often get lost, stolen or worse.

  7. Keep On Leash. Walking your pet on a leash is essential to keeping your pet safe and with you at all times. Whether you’re walking down a crowded downtown street or an open dog beach or dog park, keeping your pet on a leash ensures that you always know that your pet is with you, and will not run away if it is spooked or tempted by something outside of your reach. And of course, while one end of the leash is firmly attached to your pet’s collar or harness, the other end must always be attached to you. Not a chair or a pole or a tree, while you walk away for a “few” minutes, but specifically attached to you. Because the only thing keeping your pet from getting lost or stolen is…you.

 

According to National Pet Recovery, a private company, about 41% of the cases reported to them were about a stolen dog, and about 47% of those lost dogs were allowed to run loose. Tying up a dog outside of a coffee shop or even leaving it in a car for a few minutes, is like inviting a dog thief to come and take your pet while you’re not looking. Most thefts occur in such a way, and the only way to prevent them is to either keep your dog with you at all times, or ensure that your dog is safely locked in your home.

 

As much as dogs may enjoy car rides and some cats may love wandering through the neighborhood, the possibility of your pet getting lost and/or stolen in these cases nearly doubles. So unless you can be sure that you will be with you pet at all times while out and about, do your pets and yourself a favor – leave Fido and Fluffy at home, where you know they will be safe and comfortable until you return.