Thursday, February 13, 2020

Protecting Your Pet from Theft

Pet Theft Awareness cat graphic.

Having a pet stolen isn't something I've experienced, and I hope and pray that none of you have, either. I cannot even begin to imagine how devastating it would be to have a companion animal taken from you. Because today is Pet Theft Awareness Day, I'd like to talk with you all about this important topic.

Why Are Pets Stolen?

Pets are stolen for numerous reasons. Some common reasons include:

  • Monetary Gain: Purebred dogs and cats may be stolen and resold for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    Sadly, some people take pets in hopes of receiving a reward from the distraught owner. In these cases, the thief waits for the pet owner to post fliers offering a reward for the return of their pet. The thief then calls and claims that they've found the pet and cashes in on the reward. Of course, this doesn't mean that everyone who claims they've found a pet is a thief. There are still plenty of good people in the world.
  • Breeding: Int-tact pets can be stolen and sent off to puppy or kitten mills for breeding. This is another good reason to have your pet spayed or neutered.
  • Research: Some thieves sell stolen pets to veterinary institutions or research facilities that use cats and dogs for biomedical experiments or testing.
  • Dog Fighting: Some dogs are used in dog fights or as, “bait dogs.”

How Can You Keep Your Pet Safe?

  • Always keep your dog or cat indoors when you're not home.
  • Supervise your pet when he's in your backyard.
  • Never leave your pet in your car unsupervised.
  • Don't leave your dog tied to a post or bike rack outside the store while you go in. I see this all the time here at my local grocery store. I worry for the dogs being left there.
  • Get your pet microchipped, and keep your pet's information up-to-date. A microchip is an easy way to prove that a pet is yours if he's taken.
  • Don't put your pet's name on his physical ID tag. A dog, especially, is more likely to go with a stranger if the stranger calls him by name.
  • Take lots of pet photos. Capture your pet from every angle, and be sure to photograph any identifying marks. Take photos of yourself with your pets as well. These photos may be helpful in proving your pet belongs to you if he's stolen.
Dog playing outdoors. Always supervise your pets when they are outside.

What Should You Do if Your Pet is Stolen?

  • File a Police Report: Call your local police department or sheriff immediately, and file a report.
  • Post Fliers: Create a flier, and post it around your neighborhood. Note your pet's coloring, size, and any identifying marks. Provide a contact number where you can be reached. If you note that your pet takes medication on the flier, people may be more apt to keep an eye out for him. This may also deter someone from keeping your pet.

    Even though some thieves want to collect on a reward, it's still a good idea to offer one for information that leads to the return of your pet. Don't specify the amount of the reward on the flier Don't mention that you think your pet has been stolen as someone may be less likely to return your pet if they think they'll be prosecuted. Additionally, an innocent person who finds your pet won't be likely to return him to you if they think you believe he or she is a thief.
  • Alert Local Shelters and Vets: Call all of the shelters, veterinarians, and grooming salons in your city as well as surrounding cities, and appraise them of the situation. If a thief has second thoughts about keeping your pet, he may dump him at one of these locations
  • Monitor Pet Ads: Monitor pet ads in your local newspapers and online at rescue and shelter sites.

If you think you've located your pet, do not try to retrieve him yourself. Instead, call your local police department or sheriff for assistance.

If someone calls you asking for money to ship your pet back to you, know that it is most likely a scam. Unfortunately, there are people out there who prey upon vulnerable pet owners.

If someone calls you claiming they have your pet, ask specific questions to determine whether or not it's likely they have your pet.

Finally, don't give up hope!


  1. I sure hope no one has to endure that kind of horror, nor their furry children.

  2. Momma had someone try to steal her dog a long time ago - she punched them, MOL.

  3. Good info, folks should be prepared. What a sad world we live in.

  4. This is an excellent post; full of great information on a very sad topic. I've heard that pets are often stolen by a divorcing partner too...that makes me mad.

  5. That's great advice and that situation would be so very scary.

  6. It must be devastating to have a pet stolen. This is very good advice if such an occasion should arrive.

  7. Thanks for the info! My human is actually paranoid enough about me being stolen that she puts locks on my enclosure at cat shows when she takes a restroom break.

  8. We hope we’re never stolen. Thanks for this info.

  9. That is all excellent advice! We sure hope we are never in that situation.