It was a typical lazy Sunday when I went out on a pizza date with my husband. We did the standard drive, park, and walk to the door, but on our way inside we saw something out of the ordinary for a restaurant parking lot: a beautiful Chow Chow mix chained to an SUV, just hanging out on the sidewalk. Like any friendly dog, the pup wagged her tail in anticipation of some affection as we went into the restaurant. This situation had me wondering just how safe it is to leave a dog outside while dining.
Unfortunately, dognapping is a reality that is growing every year. The American Kennel Club reported a “sharp rise” in dog napping, and The Week magazine reports that:
In the first seven months of 2011, the AKC estimates that there were 224 cases of dog theft, as opposed to 150 during the first seven months of 2010. That represents an almost 50% increase—though the total is still miniscule compared to the tens of millions of dogs living as pets in the U.S.
Even though this amount is small, every pet owner should be aware that this is becoming an increasing problem. It is also likely that not every dognapping was reported. Why do people dognap? While the reasons vary, two common reasons are for ransom money, and for dogfighting. Others are sold to research laboratories, and some cases are even custody battles or personal vendettas.
To keep your dog safe, here are some tips to protect pets:
- Keep dogs inside while out of the home, or in a secure indoor/outdoor kennel
- Microchip your pet
- Keep fences and homes locked
- Keep your pet on a leash in public places
- Don’t offer too much information about your dog to strangers
- Generate a neighborhood alliance to keep an eye out for pets, children, and families
- Don’t leave dogs unattended outside or in cars
- Take action quickly by alerting authorities
- Utilize lost pet alert services in your area
Do you have any other ideas for keeping pets safe against this problem? Is dognapping something that you worry about?
This article was written by My Pet Saving’s contributor Melissa. She has a master’s degree in creative writing, owns several pets and runs her own online pet magazine. To learn more about this author check out the contributor profile page.