During the pandemic, self-isolation can really make you crave companionship. You can contact your family and friends online. But there’s just something different about being with others physically. However, it wasn’t an option, especially at the start of the pandemic. This need for companionship raised the demand for pets. For example, dog adoption and sales increased. Criminals took advantage of this demand and started stealing pets to sell.
Dognapping isn’t uncommon in the U.S. Thousands of dogs are stolen every year. And this year, even Lady Gaga fell victim to this crime when her dogs were stolen while they were out with her dog walker. Dognapping is also not new. One famous case is the theft of Yale’s mascot Handsome Dan in 1934, which may be the first dognapping case.
Given the rise of dog theft, you need to be more careful when you bring your dog out or even when you’re at home.
How Dog Theft Happens
Thieves may snatch your pets out of your sight in different ways. The most common is to steal dogs that are already out in the open. For instance, someone can easily grab a dog in an off-leash park. Others might steal dogs left in their owners’ vehicles with the windows slightly open.
Leaving your dog in a storefront when you enter an establishment that doesn’t allow dogs also puts your pet in danger. Anyone can untie their leash or cut it and take them.
Other criminals also have the guts to steal dogs from their own homes. For example, if your dog goes out to your backyard to play, someone might try to steal them there while you’re not looking.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe
Dogs are family. Dog owners are so committed to their pets that they spend thousands of dollars on them annually. This expense goes to food, toys, shelter, dog obedience classes, grooming, and veterinary expenses. In return, dogs offer joy, companionship, and loyalty. Thus, dog owners must do their best in keeping their fur friends safe.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your dog from thieves:
Leave Them at Home
Instead of leaving your dog at a storefront or in your car when you run errands, just leave him or her at home. Whether you live with your family or friends, ask them to watch your dog while you’re out.
Microchip Your Dog
Microchipping your dog is one of the best ways to keep your dogs safe. According to AKC Reunite, dogs with microchips are more likely to be reunited with their owners.
A microchip is a minuscule piece of technology that carries the ID number of a pet. When scanned, the microchip transmits the number. This ID number needs to be registered in a national pet recovery database, along with your information (name, contact information, etc.). If your dog gets lost, a veterinarian or a shelter only needs to scan the microchip in your pet. The information provided by the microchip will help them contact you easily so that you can retrieve your dog.
Get a GPS Tracker
While microchips are helpful, they don’t help in locating your dog. Thus, to complement the microchip in your pet, you should also get them a GPS tracker. This is especially important when you go out with them.
A GPS tracker for a dog usually comes as a collar. Other variants look like small devices that can be attached to the collar that your dog already has.
With a GPS tracker, you can easily track your dog’s location. If your dog ever gets lost or runs off to explore on its own, you’ll know where to find them. And in the case of dognapping, the GPS tracker will prove useful in getting your dog back as soon as possible.
Be Careful with Social Media
It’s totally okay to take photos of your dog when you two are outside. Besides, who doesn’t want photos to remember your trips together? But as much as possible, when you upload these photos, don’t include the location in your post. Also, keep landmarks blurred, or don’t include any landmarks at all in the photos. Posts with location tags help dognappers easily find and target your dog.
If you do want to include a location tag in your post, upload your photos when you’re no longer in that area.
Dognapping increased during the pandemic due to the demand for pet dogs. So pet owners need to take extra caution. They need to safeguard their dog so that they don’t fall victim to dognappers.