Battery Park City Dog Association
New York City
Tips for Avoiding Dog Theft
News reports show that incidents of dog-napping are on the rise. Many of these incidents could be avoided, if owners would take simple precautions. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has published a set of tips to prevent your "best friend" from being a target of a crime, which we've edited slightly to conform to local needs:
Don't let your dog off-leash — Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. A Saint Bernard that had wandered away from his owner in Nebraska was snatched up right off the road. A similar thing could happen even on the streets of New York.
Don't leave your dog unattended in your yard — If you take your dog to a home out of the city, your dog can be a potential target, if it is left outdoors when no one is home for long periods of time can, especially if the home is in a rural area and the fenced-in yard or dog run is visible from the street.
Keep purchase price to yourself — If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don't answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.
Breeders need to be aware of home visits by potential puppy buyers — Criminals posing as would be "puppy buyers" have visited breeder homes to snatch dogs, while other homes have been burglarized when the owner was away. From Yorkies in Los Angeles to Bulldogs in Connecticut, thieves have targeted young puppies of these highly coveted breeds.
On the Road:
Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it's locked — Even if you are gone for only a moment, an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble. Also leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only invite thieves to break and possibly allow the dog to escape.
Don't tie your dog outside a store — This popular practice among city dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. Reports have surfaced of such thefts in Manhattan. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.
Be vigilant when entering or leaving establishments or venues catering to dogs such as grooming salons, veterinarians, doggie day care or hotels — Be aware of your surroundings, such as slow moving vehicles, or people watching you and your dog. Carry pepper spray as a precaution and, if possible, don't walk alone late at night or stay in a well lit area.
Protect your dog with microchip identification — Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Keep contact information current with your recovery service provider. Several pets have been recovered because of alert people scanning and discovering microchips.
If you suspect your dog has been stolen — Immediately call the police / animal control in the area your pet was last seen.
Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing — Keep a photo of your dog in your wallet or on an easily accessible web account so that you can distribute immediately if your pet goes missing.
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