February 14 is Pet Theft Awareness Day

5 tips to protect your pet from theft… and what to do if you’re a victim

We do it all the time: We let our cat out in the backyard on a sunny day. We tether our dog to the street lamp to run a quick errand. We live in a safe neighborhood, so what could possibly happen?

Due to the ever-changing economy and the pet business becoming increasing more lucrative, the scary truth is that pet theft is on the rise. Just as you wouldn’t leave a young child outside unsupervised, the same should go for your pet.With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, don’t forget to show your furry companion how much you love them by keeping them out of harm’s way.

If your pet goes missing, immediately contact your local animal control and shelters.

If your pet goes missing, immediately contact your local animal control and shelters.

Follow these 5 important tips to protect your pet from theft:

  1. At home, keep your pets supervised at all times. Think twice before letting your cat roam freely around the neighborhood or tying your pup to the tree in your front yard.
  2. Running an errand? Leave your pet at home. Although walking your dog while tackling your daily chores may seem like you’re accomplishing double-duty, the reality is that it only takes a few seconds for a dog-napper to take off with your pet.
  3. Follow the same rules for pets of all breeds and sizes. Although purebreds and small dogs are the most desirable to a thief for obvious reasons, big friendly dogs or mixed breeds can be just as easily lured into a get-away car waiting nearby.
  4. Spay or neuter your pet. February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and the ARL has been sharing the many health and behavioral benefits of the low-risk procedure. Another perk? Spayed or neutered pets are much less desirable to thieves, since they can’t be bred.
  5. Microchip your pet. It only takes a second for a thief to remove your pet’s collar, making them very difficult to identify should they turn up at an animal shelter or hospital. Quick and painless, microchipping your pet is extremely important to ensure that you and your pet are reunited.

If you find yourself in a situation where you think your pet was stolen:

  • Immediately file a report with your local police department and animal control.
  • Contact your pet’s microchip company, as well as local animal shelters and hospitals to see if your pet has turned up.
  • Post fliers around your neighborhood, especially in public spaces and businesses, with your pet’s photo, name, breed, color, weight and any distinguishing characteristics.
  • If you offer a reward, ask for a very detailed description of your pet and how they came into that person’s possession. If you suspect that you are being scammed, call the police.
  • Monitor newspaper ads and online postings to look for any that might fit your pet’s description.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Prevent pet theft before it happens! Report any suspicious activity, or animal cruelty and neglect to your local police department and animal control office.