Pet Theft on the Rise: Steps to Prevent Dognapping
Wed, April 21, 2021

Pet Theft on the Rise: Steps to Prevent Dognapping

Shocking 2018 figures from insurance company Direct Line also show that 1,931 dog thefts happened in the UK that year. These dogs can serve as “money makers” for people / Photo by: Filippo Carlot via 123RF


A pet store in Florida, USA has just recently made headlines for offering a reward worth US$1,000 to get two stolen American bully puppies back to them. While the puppies are only $2,600 apiece, the store manager Alex Nichols said via local news provider Kiro 7 that they wanted the “safe return” of their puppies and they do not want them to end up in the wrong hands.

Nichols shared that their biggest concern is that the puppies will not get the right vet care and vaccines that they are supposed to. This is why they are trying their best to get the puppies back in their pet store. Nichols added that a man and a woman recently came into their store and their eyes were set on the two animals. “We’re very upset about it,” Nichols said. Both dogs are also microchipped and the store has already filed a report with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Comment From a Dog Behaviorist

Shocking 2018 figures from insurance company Direct Line also show that 1,931 dog thefts happened in the UK that year. These dogs can serve as “money makers” for people. Dog behaviorist Stan Rawlinson was interviewed by UK news provider Plymouth Herald and said that dog owners have to “secure everything” to prevent dognapping.

#1: Change the route of your daily walk with your dog

Rawlinson believes that one way to prevent dognapping is to change the route of your daily walk with your dog. This change should be done on a daily basis. Other dog experts advise owners to keep their dog on a leash while outdoors so that they will not wander off, which increases the possibility of pet theft.

#2: Install cameras at the back of your garden

By securing everything, it also means installing cameras at the back of your garden, recommends Rawlinson. It is also important to keep the back door secure and it should not be easy for just anyone to get through it. Nevertheless, a fence is not enough to deter potential thieves. This is why indoors remains the safest place to leave your dog if you have to go out, especially if your yard can be easily seen by outsiders or from the street.

#3: Don’t leave your dog alone in the car

Leaving the dog alone in the car does not only put it at risk of hot temperature but also attracts potential pet thieves. However, if you think that tying the dog to the outside of the door is the solution, think again. It also puts the dog in a vulnerable spot because thieves will know that you aren't there, especially if they have been observing your routine for a while. Choose to go to dog-friendly locations instead or have someone come along with you to watch over your dog while you shop inside a non-pet-friendly store.

#4: Have your dog microchipped

Using a dog tag alone is not enough because it can be easily removed by someone who has bad intentions. Yet, a microchip will offer absolute proof of ownership. World-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, widely known for his TV series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan broadcasted in over a hundred countries, also explained that it has been a standard procedure for veterinarians and pet shelters worldwide to scan for a microchip if they receive new canine patients or dogs. Having dogs microchipped increases the chances of a reunion with the dog owner in case it is lost. A previous study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, moreover explained that canines with microchips were returned to their owner more than 52% of the time compared to less than 22% of dogs without the electronic chip.

The small electronic chip around the size of a grain of rice is usually implanted under the dog’s skin, particularly between the shoulder blades, and contains a unique number that can be scanned. Animal shelter personnel and veterinarians can help pet owners complete the microchip registration forms after the implantation. Their contact details will then be logged into a central database.

Microchipping of animals: statistics

In South Korea, the distribution of newly registered pet dogs in 2018 by registration type is as follows: 61% of pets have microchips, 27.7% have external ID chips, and 11.2% have only an ID tag.

As required by the International Standards Organization, a microchip should meet the 11784/11785 specifications, which is a 15-digit non-encrypted microchip that operates at 134.2 kHz. If the microchip does not conform to the ISO standards, a standard microchip scanner may not be able to read it upon checking the animal, especially if the pet is lost when traveling to another country.

#5: Don’t advertise your pet’s value

If you own one of the most expensive or rarest breeds, you can keep your pet safe by not telling everyone how much your pet costs. Be cautious because strangers may be asking questions only to know how much the pet is worth.

Certain breeds that are considered money-makers were also the most-stolen breeds in 2018 in the United Kingdom. These include Staffordshire Bull Terrier (88% reported thefts), Crossbreed (53%), Chihuahua (52%), French Bulldog (51%), Jack Russell (39%), Pug (24%), Bulldog (22%), Cocker Spaniel (14%), Labrador (12%), Terrier (11%), and Bull Terrier (8%).

A dog breed not included in the list does not mean it is not at risk. It is always wise to take precautions to prevent the worst from happening. In case your dog goes missing during a walk, retrace your steps because it may offer a clue as to where they have headed.

#6: Invest in other anti-theft technologies

New technologies are created each year to fight dognapping. There are location trackers, cameras, and other equipment that help protect dogs.

Many pet parents consider their dogs as priceless and a part of their family. It is only wise to treat them as such by keeping them safe all the time to prevent them from being stolen. If, despite preventative measures, the pet still gets stolen, taking immediate action can make a difference. To help other dogs from getting stolen, everyone is advised not to buy a stolen pet so that it will not encourage thieves to continue their illegal business.