CLEVELAND -- It takes only minutes, sometimes just seconds for a family's beloved pet to be dognapped.
Dog thefts are up by double digits in both cities and suburbs.
About 2,000,000 pets are stolen from homes and even dog parks with the owners right there each year.
Here are some things every pet owners should know in order to help protect your pet.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended in a vehicle, tethered on a porch, alone in the yard, even a fenced in backyard, near a restaurant, or business.
- Never walk or play with your dog off leash.
- Invest in a good collar, tags, micro-chipping and/or Pet GPS trackers.
- Never share information with strangers including the dogs cost, temperament, name, if they’re fixed, micro-chipped etc...
- Only hire and trust vetted pet care professionals and walkers.
- Spaying or neutering reduces running, and is less desirable to some dognappers
- Only get dogs from reputable breeders, rescue organizations or shelters
- Be wary of classified ads and flea markets where stolen pets are often “flipped” or sold.
- If someone “sells” or “gives” you a dog, make sure they have a registered dog license and transfer it into your name..
Proving It’s Your Dog
- Get and maintain a dog license. It’s the law, and the only way to legally prove ownership; superseding micro-chipping and any other identification.
- Have clear, recent photos of the dog ready for fliers, law enforcement and posting on-line, including photos of you and the dog together
- Keep registration papers and/or adoption records handy
- DNA swab the dogs cheek with a cotton swab and save it in an envelope
If Your Dog Goes Missing
- Immediately call the Police and file a report
- Call Animal Control and area shelters
- Canvass the neighborhood looking for potential witnesses
- Hang fliers, with clear pictures of the dog and any unique identifying features
- Immediately post photos and information on local, state and national “pet lost and found” websites and social media sites
- Don’t specify the amount of a reward, since many dognappers are just looking to take advantage of people
- Look for surveillance cameras in the area, and ask to see the video right away, before it’s recorded over
- Don’t Give Up, lost and stolen pets can be located even years later
Most Commonly Stolen Breeds: