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An Unthinkable Tragedy: How to Avoid a Stolen Pet

stolen petPet theft is on the rise, with close to 2 million pets being stolen each year. Depending on breed, some of these pets end up as fighting dogs, used for breeding, or sold to labs that test on animals. In many other cases, they’re simply given as gifts or taken home.

A stolen pet is a particularly tragic situation, as many of these pets are never reunited with their rightful families. While this may seem unlikely because you supervise your pet, the reality is there are many situations that put a pet at risk. Pet theft can happen any time; all it takes is a few seconds.

In observance of Pet Theft Awareness Day on February 14th, we want to help protect your pet by offering up the following tips.

10 Tips to Avoid a Stolen Pet

  1. Microchip your pet. If your pet is found or is sold to a business, there’s a possibility they’ll be scanned for a microchip, which would identify the rightful owner. Microchipping is also the best way to ensure you’re reunited with your pet should they ever become lost.
  2. Never leave your pet alone in the yard. The backyard may seem like a safe place for your pet to relax and play, but if your dog is out there unattended, it’s a definite red flag for possible theft. Instead, opt to enlist some help from a pet sitter or walker to take your pet out while you’re away.
  3. Don’t leave your dog tied up in front of a store. It’s understandable for a pet owner of a well behaved pooch to want to leave their pet tied up for just few a few minutes while they pop into the store or cafe. In most cases, your pet will probably be greeted by fellow pet lovers, but there’s always the possibility of theft.
  4. Don’t leave your pet alone in the car. This should be a no-brainer, but every year, pets perish from hyperthermia when left inside a car. However, even during mild days, thieves have been known to pick locks or break windows to grab a cherished pet.
  5. Keep a close watch, even at dog parks. It’s natural to assume that dog parks are safe zones for our pets because so many other owners are around. They’re watching your dog, right? Not so much. Amidst all the chaos of people coming and going, someone can easily make off with your pet. Supervision is always a must!
  6. Be careful about discussing the cost or rarity of your pet. It’s easy to chat up your pet with anyone and everyone, especially on social media, but remember this can also make your pet a target.
  7. Be aware of breeds that are more likely to be stolen. Pit bulls, rottweilers, and other breeds are often stolen for fighting. Breeds like French bulldogs and Maltese are commonly stolen for their high price tag. Be aware of the risk.
  8. Spay or neuter your pet. Intact animals are more likely to escape. If your pet roams, there’s a good chance someone will spot them and either keep or sell your beloved pet. Not everyone is a good Samaritan.
  9. Lock gates and consider security. Make your yard univiting to thieves by installing security cameras and investing in privacy fencing.
  10. Keep recent photos of your pet. Should your pet ever go missing, current photos can help locate your pet. Keep pictures on file that show your pet’s face and profile, as well as identifying traits or markers.

The idea of a stolen pet can be frightening, but it’s possible to prevent this scenario by keeping our helpful tips in mind. If you have any questions, please call the team at West Park.

The post An Unthinkable Tragedy: How to Avoid a Stolen Pet appeared first on West Park Animal Hospital Blog.