|The thought of their pet being stolen can be horrifying and devastating to any owner. What comes to your mind when your pet disappears without a trace / Photo by: Vitaliy Nazarenko via 123RF|
The thought of their pet being stolen can be horrifying and devastating to any owner. What comes to your mind when your pet disappears without a trace? According to Colleen Dougherty of expert pet advice platform Dogtime, when confronted with this question, many said they will think that their pet has been killed by a predator, got hit by a car, locked up in a neighbor’s garage by accident, or “adopted” by another family.
These can happen but owners usually don’t want to think of the possibility of their pet getting stolen. Reports said that stolen animals are sold to fur traders, laboratories, or fighting rings. They can also be advertised for sale online. Scared? Let’s learn why pets get stolen and how you can safeguard your precious animal from thieves.
Why People Steal Pets
Thieves can steal animals from cars, backyards, cages, kennels, front sidewalks, and porches. Stray animals and “outdoor” cats are more vulnerable. Pets get stolen for a number of reasons, reported British pet charity Blue Cross.
Some pet thieves “adopt” animals from low-cost shelters and resell them for profit. However, most shelters now use contracts and keep records to identify suspicious owners. Other thieves steal pets for breeding. Purebred dogs are common victims of theft, as it allows thieves to amass thousands of dollars with little effort or expertise, wrote PAWS, an animal welfare organization. Designer breeds like Labradoodles are sold for half the original selling price and the thieves still make a profit.
In a survey conducted by Blue Cross, they found that 70 percent of owners believe that dogs and cats are also targets of theft due to organized crime. On the other hand, 94 percent reported “criminals are specifically targeting their house” to steal their pets, while a third of owners believe thieves steal pets to use them as ransom or to “claim reward money.”
|Thieves can steal animals from cars, backyards, cages, kennels, front sidewalks, and porches. Stray animals and “outdoor” cats are more vulnerable / Photo by: Angcana Hongchoowet via 123RF|
How Stolen Pets Used
- Fur Trade
Although fur trading is banned in the European Union (EU) and the United States since 2007, it is still practiced in the black market. In England, people noticed that some cats with specific patterns have disappeared. They discovered that fur traders were using the cats’ fur to fill requests for pelts of certain colors and patterns.
- Lab Experiments
Some countries such as Argentina, Italy, and Israel have banned the use of animals for laboratory experiments. Unfortunately, this is still legal in the United States. Most lab animals “are raised specifically for these purposes.” Research and veterinary institutions that use animals for testing are called Class B dealers. They purchase animals from flea markets or through newspaper ads. There are also thieves that sell stolen pets to Class B dealers.
- Pet Flipping
Pet flipping is the latest trend in pet theft. It involves advertising animals for sale on the internet. Craiglist bans “selling” pets. However, it charges a “re-homing” or “adoption” fee.
How to Protect Your Pets From Thieves
1. Don’t leave your pet in places accessible to thieves – Tying your pet outside the house or leaving them alone in your vehicle or in your own garden without strong fencing may make it easier for thieves to snatch your pet while you’re not present. If you’re leaving the house, make sure to keep the doors locked and windows secure to deter thieves.
2. Vary your routes and avoid oversharing on social media – Pet owners love to post photos of their pets on social media. However, oversharing may draw the attention of thieves, especially if you “reveal their home or frequently visited locations.” Additionally, avoid posting your address online. For owners who love using Instagram, don’t use location tags or make it obvious to your followers that you and your pet are at the same place at the same time. If you have a dog, it is best to introduce variety to the route you walk so thieves cannot discern your routine.
3. Microchip your pet
Microchipping your pet enables you to reunite with it quickly if it was found. When stolen pets are found and have no microchip information to be scanned, it will be difficult for authorities and charities that have them under their care to reunite them with their owners. Keep your pet’s microchip details updated. You cannot be contacted if the information in the microchip is outdated.
4. Spay or neuter your pet
Doing so will make your pet less attractive for thieves who steal animals for breeding. It will also make your pet less likely to roam around.
5. Stay away from “Free to Good Home” ads
Avoid these kinds of ads at all costs when you’re looking for a new home for your pet. Visit the new guardian’s premises and check their premises. You can also have them sign a pet adoption contract.
What Should You Do If Your Pet Is Stolen?
Contact your local authorities immediately. Provide a detailed description of your pet’s physical appearance. You can also provide photos of your pet and an account of what happened when your pet was stolen. Describe the thief’s appearance and the vehicle they used if you were able to see them. If your pet is microchipped, ask the officer to note its microchip number.
It is best for owners to educate themselves on how to safeguard their pets from thieves, as well as knowing what to do when their pets get stolen. It’s a dark reality that looms over us, and we have to be prepared for it.
|Contact your local authorities immediately. Provide a detailed description of your pet’s physical appearance. You can also provide photos of your pet and an account of what happened when your pet was stolen / Photo by: georgejmclittle via 123RF|