You might think that only small, purebred dogs are victims of pet theft and are stolen by people who want a pet of their own, but that's not the case. Big, small, purebred or mixed breeds, pets are stolen every day and used in unthinkable practices like dog fighting, animal testing in labs, ritual sacrifice and even sold in pet stores.
To make sure your beloved pet is never the victim of pet theft, here are some tips that will help prevent the unthinkable:
While invisible fences will prevent your dog from wandering off your property, they don't keep thieves from entering your yard. Opt for a sturdy, secure fence in your backyard instead. A real fence will keep your pet in and intruders out.
Make sure your pet isn't visible from the street
A playful pup in the front yard could become easy bait for a thief on the lookout. Instead, only allow your pet outside in the backyard where he's hidden from view.
Don't tie your dog up outside a store
A thief needs only a couple of seconds to walk off with your dog, so even for quick errands, never leave your dog tied up to a bench or post. Emily Gear, founder, executive director and president of the rescue organization Louie's Legacy, says that "incidents of pets being stolen off city streets are on the rise, especially if you own an especially large-headed, muscular bully breed or a purebred animal that someone might think they can sell or breed for profit. Plan a special trip to run your errands." And leave your dog at home!
Don't leave your dog unattended in the backyard
An unattended dog will only get into trouble, so just don't do it. In addition to pet theft, Emily Gear explains that "it's not a good idea for many reasons, including escape, strangulation and other injuries." Always keep an eye on your pet!
Don't leave your dog alone in a car
Not only is leaving your dog locked in your car dangerous during extreme temperatures, but it's an easy target for pet thieves year-round. With a quick smash of the window, your dog becomes theirs in a matter of seconds. Either leave your dog home or take him with you wherever you're going.
Use a leash at all times
A dog that runs off is a prime target for theft, so keep your dog leashed up at all times unless he's in an enclosed area like a dog park or your backyard. Even well-behaved dogs can get spooked or distracted and run off, so be safe.
Up next: 6 More ways to keep your pet safe >>