An estimated 2 million pets are stolen each year, and only 10% of these pets are returned to their owners. To protect your pet, it's important to know about pet theft.
Why Pets Are Taken
The 2 main reasons pets are typically stolen is for monetary gain and for illegal animal fights. When it is a case of monetary gain, someone may steal a pet to then sell it to a 3rd party. However, in some cases it is done with the intent of returning the pet to its owner. Thieves wait for an owner to post a reward and then call to report the animal found to collect. This, of course, doesn't mean everyone that finds a lost or stolen pet is a thief. Good Samaritans do still exist!
The 2nd most common reasons pets, especially dogs, are stolen is to use them in illegal animal fights. Some are conditioned to be fighters, while others are sadly and shocking used as bait. While even attending animal fights is a felony in the United States, underground fights still happen. Because of this, it is advisable to be aware of whether or not there have been reports of animal fights in your area.
Keeping Your Pet Safe
- Never let your dog wander freely.
- Secure your yard with some type of fencing.
- Never leave your pet unattended.
- Make sure your pet is wearing identification tags.
- Get your pet microchipped. This is an easy way to identify him if a thief removes his tags.
- Keep updated pictures of your pet from different angles. This may help prove that your pet is in fact yours if he's stolen. Pay special attention and get pictures of any unique markings your pet may have.
- Some pet insurance plans offer assistance if your pet is lost or stolen and can help you with the cost associated with recovering your pet.
While everyone hopes it will never happen, if your pet is lost or has been stolen, check animal rescue centers regularly and be aware of any lost pet websites or hotlines in your area.