by Sheryl Wall
It is easy to think, ‘Oh, that will never happen to me and my pet.’ But when we look at the facts we should be concerned and taking actions to prevent pet theft. According to AKC’s Lisa Peterson on Fox News, dog theft in 2011 increased by 49%. Dogs are taken from owners’ locked cars, fenced back yards, and homes to name just a few places. If we look around, we see adds in the newspaper and posters posted all over our towns about lost dogs. How can we just ignore these facts that surround us?
I watched an episode of It’s Me or the Dog (UK Season 2 Episode 1) about two Yorkshire Terriers that were stolen from their owner’s car. It was very heartbreaking and eye opening to me. Thankfully, they were able to get their puppies back but not without a lot of emotional scars. Some owners never get their dogs home again and that is almost too sad to even think about, but we need to.
We need to consider preventative measures to help avoid this tragedy. AKC website has a lot of good suggestions in their article on pet theft.
First, we shouldn’t leave our dogs unattended in our cars even if the doors are locked or tie them up downtown while we are shopping. We make it too easy for thieves to snatch up our dogs. It is also important to watch our dogs in our own yards even if they are fenced. It’s good to have a wood fence so our pets can’t be seen by the passersby. Another good preventative is to limit the information we tell interested strangers about our dogs. Often you get comments like how much did you pay for her or questions about where you live. Avoid answering these questions. And remember that purebred dogs are more susceptible to theft but even mixed breeds are sometimes targets. To be safe, avoid any probing questions by strangers.
There are a lot of identification methods we can use to help keep our pets safe. The most common method is ID Tags. They are inexpensive and would be a good first step. You can get ID tags almost anywhere. There are many online sites that sell them as well as most pet stores and vets.
Another common method is Micro-chipping. It is a small computer chip inserted just under the skin and can be read with a scanner. You must register with a company once your dog gets her chip inserted. You provide them with your information and you receive a tag with a toll free number that can be called. Tattoos are another option for identification, this helps prove that the puppy is truly yours. It could even deter some potential thieves to rethink taking your dog because they would be harder to successfully resell to a new owner. Make sure to talk to your vet about microchipping or tattoos because you don’t want to traumatize your dog by having it done incorrectly. It is also wise to not let your dog off-leash in public places where they could be easily snatched up or run off. Also, be sure to have photos of your pet in case they are ever stolen to help identify you as the owner. It’s also good to know some unique traits your dog has.
Being aware and taking preventative steps is a good start to decreasing the percentage of stolen pets each year. Let’s do our best to watch out for our beloved pets so we never have to face loss through theft.
To help out those who have lost their pets in Reedley, check out the Reedley Homeless Pets Facebook page where they will be posting photos of pets that are picked up by Reedley animal control.