It’s a scary concept to think about and I’m sure you just can’t imagine that you might be doing or have done something that puts your dog at risk from being stolen from you, but believe it or not, it’s true!
Pet theft is a real and sadly over two million pets (and counting) have been stolen away from their ohana.
Why are our pets such a hot ticket for thieves? MONEY!!!
Dogs are taken to be sold to unsuspecting people, laboratories in need of animals to do testing, dog fighting rings, or to scam the people they took the dog from to collect any monetary reward offered or for ransom.
Purebred dogs are especially when they are still intact, are popular because they can be used for puppy mills or sold to illegal puppy mills.
In honor of Pet Theft Awareness Day, scroll to check out the three mistakes dog parents are making that can get their dog stolen.
Someone ties their dog outside the store or leaves their pup in the car to run inside the store really quick to buy something. They come back and their pup is gone. What do they always say? “I was only gone for five minutes.”
Let’s be honest here, it’s never just five minutes because you’re never timing yourself. Truthfully most of the time you’re gone for much longer because something potentially holds you up. The person in front of you is taking longer, something isn’t working right with the register, etc.
All this time you’ve left your pup alone has given a person ample time to come and take your dog. Think about how easy it is to just untie the leash or detach the leash from your dog’s collar or harness and attach them to a new one.
More often than not, people aren’t really paying attention to who the owner of the dog is to begin with, so most aren’t going to think twice of someone approaching your dog and walking away with him or her.
Your car might take a minute or two extra to get in, but that still isn’t a better option for your pup.
Just recently here in Hawaii, someone left their dogs in their vehicle while this person ran inside a local coffee shop to grab their order. This person came back and not only was this person’s dogs gone but so was their vehicle.
If you’re going to run errands, no matter how quick you think you’re going to be and the place your going isn’t dog friendly, the safest option is just to leave them at home, secured inside.
Don’t want to leave them at home? Then do yourself a favor and have a friend or family member with you that can keep an eye on them when you step away. There’s always safety in numbers anyways.
You’re at the local off leash dog park where your pup is running around with his furry friends and your distracted returning emails, texting, or socializing with your fellow dog parents, you look around and your dog is no where to be found. You just took your eyes off of them for a second right? WRONG!!!
Once again, let’s face it, you took the eye off the prize (your dog) and were flat out not paying attention.
Uber popular dog parks or beaches where dogs are running around off leash are a great space for dog snatchers because the truth of the matter is, they’re watching you and the other dog parents, to see who is paying attention to their pups. They’re waiting for that one opportunity where they can swoop in and take your dog.
This can also happen with over friendly dogs who will go up to anyone and can be easily lured way with a treat or toy.
I’ve been to some dog parks (not a fan of them to begin with, but that’s another story for another blog) and you know where my dog is? No more than four feet away from me attached to their leash that I have a firm grip on.
I’m a helicopter dog mom and not ashamed to admit it. If someone texts me, I’ll either tell them I can’t text at that moment and I’ll get back to them later or I have my pup sitting right in front of me, or in between my feet, where I can easily see (out of my peripheral vision) someone come up to us.
Pay attention to your surroundings and where your dog is AT ALL TIMES. If you go to the same off leash dog parks or off leash dog venues, get to know the regular dog parents who go. Start to take notice which human belongs to which dog (or vice versa).
Notice anyone who looks out of place? Someone there with a leash but no dog? Then start talking to others so they can start to take notice and start looking around or if local law enforcement is close by, go tell them. There are no “Amber Alerts” for dogs, so rally your fellow dog parents and be your own “Fido Alerts”
Being vigilant can be the difference of having your dog snatched or stopping anything happening in the first place.
Think having your dog playing in the front yard or back home without anyone outside with them is safe? Negative Ghost Rider. Dogs get snatched all the time from their yards.
Why? It’s simple, the yard isn’t secured.
Sit back and think how easy is it to approach your front door for example. Can someone just walk up to your door without having to press a button to be let in? Is there a fence they have to get through? Do you have security cameras that have motion sensors on them to alert you someone is there?
If your dog is outside playing or just lounging around catching some rays, think how easily it would be for some to just walk on up, unlock or reach over your gate, to get to your dog. This is really important if you live in a high traffic area where a lot of people are walking or driving by.
My property is surrounded by a tall rock wall, tall gates that are locked with a keys, and we have security cameras, and I still don’t let my dogs outside without me or my husband standing out there with them. Grant it you have to scale a pretty tall wall to get into my yard, but I’m still not willing to risk it or give someone an opportunity either.
Yes your home is suppose to be a sanctuary and your safe place, but sadly bad things happen at home too. Just like everything else, keep an eye on them and be vigilant.
Take a break from what you’re doing and go outside with your dog. Look around and pay attention to who is walking by or parked near by. If you have gate door with a lock, make sure it’s secure. Have a security camera? Make sure it’s in working order and you can see your property clearly.
If you see someone you’re not familiar with approaching your yard, call your dog to you until the person passes by or states their business on why they’re there to begin with. Be cautious just letting random people approach your dog in your yard and start petting them.
If you’re inside and hear your dog barking their head off, rush to see what the commotion is all about. Don’t just yell for them to calm down. Your dog can’t yell STRANGER DANGER but they can bark to alert you that something is happening.
This is not meant to scare you and think you can’t leave your dog anywhere, but to get dog parents to be more aware of dog/pet safety and get more proactive in becoming bad ass dog parents and taking on dog parent responsibilities like a boss.
I hope this blog has inspired you to take extra precaution for your dogs and can help your fellow dog parents keeps their pups safe too.