There has been a sharp uptick in reported incidents of pet theft in our area. Pets are stolen for a number of reasons including selling, breeding, fighting, and others. There are steps you can take as a pet owner to keep your pet safe, and in the event of a lost or stolen pet, give your pet the best chance of being reunited with you.
1) Never leave your pet unattended outside of the home. This includes your yard, car, dog park, or outside of the coffee shop. It may seem harmless to leave your dog for just a "quick minute" while you run a quick errand, but it only takes a minute for the dog to be taken. Many pets are stolen along with a running vehicle - what may have been a good intention by leaving windows down and/or the air conditioning on makes your car and dog an easy target for theft.
2) Secure your yard completely. While many homes in the area have fenced yards, dogs can easily be taken when unattended if the fence is short and/or the gate is not locked. Building a new fence? Opt for 5-6ft tall with a locking gate. Already have a fence? It's easy to add a lock to the gate, or you can add a security camera that points to the access points of your fence.
3) Make sure your dog is microchipped and has up-to-date ID tags. Whether in the case of a stolen or lost pet, accurate ID tag info and/or microchip with updated contact info significantly increases the likelihood of your pet being reunited with you. Even if the dog has been stolen, an unsuspecting buyer may later learn of the microchip and trace it back to the pet's rightful owner.
4) Spay or neuter your pet. Besides the positive impact of spay/neuter on preventing unwanted litters and reducing the overcrowding of pet shelters, this can be a deterrent to would-be pet thieves who steal pets for the purposes of breeding.
5) While out with your pet, carry a deterrent. It's not a bad idea to carry something to deter, or at least draw unwanted attention to, a potential thief. This could be anything from pepper spray or bear spray, to a loud whistle.
If your pet should ever be lost or stolen, contact us! Swooft has walkers all over the area every day and has relationships with area rescues and pet advocates. We're happy to assist in your search in any way we can, so please include us in your efforts as soon as you know your pet is missing.
Did You Know?
Cats that are microchipped are 20 times more likely to be reunited with their owners. Dogs that are microchipped are 2.5 times more likely to be reunited with their owners than other strays in the shelter.