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Missing and Stolen Pets 
 
Why are criminals stealing dogs?

When you are trying to protect yourself from criminals it is important to identify their motivation for the crime. Pet thieves, like most thieves, are mainly looking to make money from stolen pets.

Some dogs, especially pedigree and “designer” dogs, can make very tempting targets for pet thieves thanks to the high value that is given to them. However, it is important to remember that thieves can make money from any breed of dog in a number of ways, such as:
-Selling it on – Some pet buyers don’t ask many questions when it comes to the origin and past of their new pets and thieves take advantage of this to quickly sell the stolen dog to make a profit. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways for pet thieves to make money. The only way to fight this is for everyone to buy pets responsibly. 
-Breeding puppies – The more industrial version of selling stolen dogs is breeding them and selling their puppies. Some stolen dogs are taken to “puppy farms” where they are kept in crowded and poor conditions. The more sought after and expensive breeds of dogs are more at risk here as they can provide the highest returns. Having your dog spayed or neutered can help to prevent this. 
-Rewards & ransom – Some dog thieves have the intention to return stolen dogs to their owners, but only if they are paid in some way. This can take the form of either rewards or a ransom, depending on how sinister the criminal is. Many pet owners offer rewards when their dog is missing and some thieves pretend to have found the “lost” dog in order to claim the reward. 

Never leave your dog unattended!!Never leave your dog unattended!!

 

How are dogs being stolen?
Majority of pet thieves are opportunistic, seizing any chance to steal a vulnerable dog that is left unattended. Here are a few of the common ways criminals are stealing dogs so you can defend against them. 


-From your garden – You might assume that your garden is perfectly safe and let your dog run around unobserved. However, The Pet Census estimated that up to 52% of stolen dogs were taken directly from their gardens. Always keep an eye on your dog when it is outside and make sure your gate is secured. 


-When they are tied up outside shops – Many dog owners like to take their pets with them when they pop to the shops and most shops don’t let you bring your dog inside. This tends to end with dogs being left tied up outside shops for a short time. However, this leaves the dog very vulnerable to theft and thieves only need a short time to seize the opportunity. 


-In the park or during walks – Dog parks are a prime hunting spot for dog thieves, especially when it is busy. It is easy to lose sight of your pet whilst it runs around and plays and opportunistic criminals will take advantage of the confusion to steal your pet. Make sure your pet returns to your calls before you let it off the lead in public. 


-From a car – Leaving your dog alone in the car, even for a short while, is generally frowned upon due to the health risks involved, including heatstroke and even death. But another reason you shouldn’t do it is thieves won’t hesitate to smash your car window and steal your pet. 


The common theme here is dogs being left alone and unattended. Most dogs are inherently trusting and thieves will take advantage of your pet’s kind nature to lead it away if you are not there to stop it. Always keep an eye on your dog when you are in public.

 
[Dogs today magazine Feb 2020]

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