Call Us Today! 830-535-4406


FAQs on Pet Theft Awareness from a Veterinarian

February 01, 2024

Did you know that every February is Pet Theft Awareness Month? Approximately two million dogs are stolen every year in the U.S. That’s a pretty heartbreaking—and staggering—statistic. Even more sobering is the fact that only one out of ten pups is returned to its human owner. While there’s no way to completely guarantee your pet won’t be stolen, there are ways to help reduce the risks. A local Helotes, TX veterinarian offers some insight in this article.


What Are Some Ways To Keep My Pet Safe From Thieves?


There is no way to guarantee that your pet won’t be stolen or lost. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances.


Microchipping Having your pet microchipped is also essential. Microchips have helped reunite millions of worried families with lost or stolen pets, sometimes years after they went missing. Getting that chip is just the first stage, though. You’ll also need to keep your contact information up to date in the chip manufacturer’s registry. You can check your records using the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool here. Remember to update these records whenever you move or change your contact information. 


ID Tags Don’t forget about identification tags. In many places, ID tags are also required by law. These are the easiest way for someone to find you if their pet gets lost. Include a reward on the tag, as well as at least one form of contact. Although GPS tags can be cut off, they sometimes provide sufficient information to provide a solid lead.


Spay/Neuter If your pet is still intact, we world recommend talking to your vet and getting that appointment scheduled right away. Unfortunately, some people steal pets for puppy mills. While the law is cracking down on puppy mills in many places, there are still many of them out there. Another benefit of fixing your pet is that intact dogs and cats are much more likely to try and run away looking for love.


Security Keep your pet secure. It’s safest for your kitty if she stays indoors: this will protect her from thieves as well as other hazards, such as cars and weather. Keep your dog leashed whenever you take him off your property. Fenced yards are great, but some aren’t much of a deterrent. If you have a purebred dog and a low fence against a busy sidewalk, your pooch could be at risk. Thick shrubs can prevent people from getting over them by creating a barrier. This is also a potential downside of invisible fences: thieves can easily remove a pet’s collar without being noticed since there is no barrier. Consider adding extra security measures. Although doorbell cameras won’t stop thieves, they can help identify them. 


Supervision/Awareness People have snatched pets out of yards or even out of owners’ arms in heartbreaking videos. However, the majority of pet thefts occur when the pets are left alone. Never leave your pet unsupervised outdoors or in unsecure environments. Pay attention to what is happening in your neighborhood. For example, if you see a car slowly driving by outside while your pup is out in the yard, take him inside.


What Pets Are Most At Risk Of Being Stolen?


Thieves may find an opportunity in any type of animal. However, some types of pets are more vulnerable than others. It partly depends on what the intent is. Some pets are taken for bait to train fighting dogs, while others are sold to laboratories. The vast majority, though, are stolen by ‘flippers’, who intend to sell them for a profit. This is a very attractive option for thieves, since they do not have to put much effort into turning a profit.


The French Bulldog is one of the most frequently-stolen dogs. Not only are they quite expensive, but they’re also small enough to easily be carried away. Designer dogs, such as Labradoodles, are also attractive to shady dealers.


The following breeds are also at risk: 


  • Labrador Retriever
  • Chihuahua   
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Boston Terrier   
  • Maltese   
  • Pomeranian   
  • Yorkshire Terrier


What Should I Do If Someone Takes My Dog?


While we hope you never experience this, it is unfortunately a very real possibility. However, acting immediately can greatly increase your chances of getting your beloved pet back.


First, you should contact law enforcement. If you have any evidence, such as video or a description, provide it as soon as possible.


Next, make a flyer that includes as much relevant information about your pet as possible:


Here are some of the details to include: 

  • Color
  • Markings
  • Breed (Note: Keep in mind that if your pooch isn’t a commonly-known breed, people may not make the connection by name alone.)
  • Size
  • Sex
  • Photos are also very important. Choose ones from different angles, if possible
  • When and where your pet was last seen
  • Reward. This is extremely important, as the promise of money can go a long way towards motivating people to return the pet. You can also offer a reward for information, though you’ll of course want to follow the advice of your local police department 
  • Last seen date, time, and location 

If your pet has a medical issue, or was rescued, mention it! People may also be more inclined to return pets that need medical attention if you tug their heartstrings.


When the flyer is done, send it everywhere. Post it on all of your local social media pages, and find lost/missing pet groups in your city, county, state, and area to share it with. You can also send it to veterinary clinics, shelters, and rescue groups. Ask friends and family to share it for you.


It’s important to be cautious here. If you think you may know who stole your pet, contact the police instead of trying to approach them yourself. Contacting them directly could go wrong in all sorts of ways, some of which could be very dangerous. It unfortunately also increases the likelihood that your pet will be taken to another location right away, which would reduce your chances of recovering them.


It’s also a good idea to post a classified ad about your missing pet.


Finally, start checking local shelters within an hour’s drive of your home. Many pets have been reunited with their humans after years of separation, so don’t give up!

Ask your Helotes, TX veterinarian for more advice on this.


What Can I Do To Help Fight Pet Theft?


If you have the time, you can browse lost and found ads to see if any match. Spreading awareness is another way to be a Good Samaritan. Are you considering adopting a new animal? Be cautious about who you interact with when looking for a new pet. Always ask for proof of ownership before buying.


In Conclusion: Pet theft is unfortunately a common problem in today’s society. Sadly, millions of pets are stolen each year. You can protect your pet by ensuring it is fixed, microchipped, and wearing an ID tag.


Do you need to schedule microchipping or spay/neuter surgery? Is your furry friend due for an exam? Contact us today! As your local Helotes, TX pet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care! 

Posted in Uncategorized