Monday, October 10, 2011

Dognapping Awareness & Prevention Tips

Dognapping is on the rise as reported by a recent American Kennel Club (AKC) report
The ugly trade of pet theft is a serious problem. It is an organized, multimillion dollar business that lurks in shadows and goes unnoticed until it strikes your community, your home, your pet.
Why would any one steal your beloved pet? Well for many reasons, unfortunately. Some of the most mainstream motivations include:
1.    Selling pets to research laboratories or pet stores
2.    Subject them to sadistic religious or cult acts by psychopathic individuals
3.    Turn them into bait or fighters for dog-fighting rings
4.    Sell them to be used as puppy mill breeders
5.    Sell them as meat product to feed exotic pets or humans
6.    Having their fur made into clothing and accessories. It’s hard to distinguish cat fur from rabbit or shepherd from fox!
7.    To be sold or used as breeding partners for their dogs
8.    Selling them for profit on various online and news media venues for pure profit
9.    Crime of opportunity - “OMG its so cute I want it”
Yes. Some humans are simply sick. It is our responsibility as loving and dedicated pet owners to protect our most loyal companions. So here are on valuable tips on how to get started in that endeavor!

Pet Theft Prevention Tips
1. Pets should WEAR TAGS at all times. Rabies and license/registration tags are required by law in most municipalities. A tattoo/microchip warning tag (if appropriate) warns finders that your pet is permanently identified (tattoos may be hard to see on longhaired pets, and microchips can’t be seen at all) and gives them a central registry phone number to call. Lost pets without tags – especially cats – often don’t get reclaimed. 
2. TATTOO and/or MICROCHIP all pets for positive identification (it’s best to do both). Tattoo your social security number, drivers license number (be sure to include your state) or your purebred pet’s registration number (be sure to include registry initials: AKC, UKC, CFA, etc.) inside the thigh or on the belly (ears can be torn due to injury, or cut off).

3. REGISTER all tattoos or microchips with the appropriate registry. An unregistered tattoo or microchip is useless. The person who tattoos your pet or injects the microchip should give you information on how to register it.
4. CONFINE your pets. The safest place for them when you’re not home is INDOORS. This includes cats, too!
5. PADLOCK GATES. If you must leave your dog outside in a fenced yard, at least make it difficult for others to get to him. Padlocks and chains should be placed high, so the ground can’t be used as leverage for bolt cutters. 
6. Fit an alarm/bell to your gate so that you can hear visitors/trespassers enter your property.
7. Dogs that are kept tied in unfenced yards should be located OUT OF VIEW of passersby. The fence needs to be at least 6 feet high and padlocked. 
8. NEVER let your dog off his chain or leash – even for a minute – if you won’t be right there to watch him the whole time! In most places it’s illegal, and it’s an open invitation for trouble! 
9. Train your dog not to go out of your sight on walks. Use an extending lead if the dog does not comply. Vary your walk times and routes.
10. Don’t leave your dog tied in public places while you go in stores to shop! Depending on your county or state law this may aleady be illegal. If the dog must go shopping with make sure you only go to stores that allow the dog to enter. Otherwise leave the dog at home, NOT in a hot car!
11. If you have a doggy door. Lock it when you are not home! Let the dog do its business before you leave, let him in, lock door. Keeps it safe from snakes, wasps and bees and thieves. 
12. SPAY or NEUTER all pets. This makes them less inclined to wander, and eliminates any resale value for breeding purposes.
13. If a stranger approaches you about buying or breeding to your pet, tell him the pet has been spayed or neutered, even if it hasn’t. WRITE DOWN the person’s name, address, and license plate number, and keep a close eye on your pet afterwards!
14. DO NOT put your pet’s name on his ID tag or display it on his dog house. A pet is much more likely to go to (and with) a stranger who calls him by name.
15. DO NOT talk to strangers about the value, bloodlines, training or special abilities of your pet.
16. If your pet loses its tags, get replacements right away! Remember, in order for the tags to protect your pet, your pet must be wearing the tags! 
17. Slip collars (aka choke chains) are for training or walking only; pets should wear flat or rolled buckle collars for everyday use, and tags should be attached to the buckle collar. Harnesses and head-collars approved!
18. On the Road: Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked – Besides the obvious health risks this poses to the dog, it’s also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment. Leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only encourage break-ins and possibly allow the dog to escape, even if the thieves don’t decide to steal it too. 
19. During hurricane Katrina, a lot of dogs were stolen from shelters. In terms of disaster preparedness we recommend owners keep pictures of them with their pets (entire family) in multiple angles. This makes it easier to prove that dog is yours when you seek to reclaim a pet and if left at shelter it will be part of the shelter paperwork to prevent the release to unauthorized party.
20. We also recommend having pre-printed lost pet poster copies in your car and in your emergency Go-Bag as access to photocopy machines and paper may be hindered during an emergency. 
22. Make sure to include your pets in your emergency preparedness plan. DO NOT LEAVE PETS BEHIND when you evacuate. Its asking for loss and/or theft.
Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is simply no way to verify where an animal purchased from any of these outlets came from.
a. Do not buy pets from pet stores. There is so much doubt, false promises and controversy surrounding the true origin of these dogs that many states are now considering banning pet sales in stores while other states are looking at regulating dealers and shops. Your main risk in getting those pets is furthering money making puppy mills! That further's animal cruelty. Look at it as for every puppy sold at a pet store, it sends the message to the puppy mill owner that the mother of that puppy must remain caged and bred some more to make more money in the most horrific conditions. That's plain animal cruelty.
b. Web sites and online classifieds are easily falsified. Consider that anyone can scam and lie online.
b. Roadside and/or flea market purchases are to be handled with extreme care and with suspicion since it is difficult  to determine the pet’s true origins and true intent of seller. Cash sales from non-official sources can be hard to track in the age of throw away cell phones and identity theft impairing any legal or financial recourse.
c. The threat is not limited to the online world, keep a suspicious eye on newspaper ads. The newspaper cannot verify the accuracy of statements made in the ad!
Any animal offered for sale at reduced prices, for a “relocation” fee, or accompanied by requests for last minute shipping fees are red flags. Dog owners who truly love their animals and are unable to keep them will opt to find a loving home without compensation for re-homing the animal. Seek out reputable breeders or rescue groups. Visit the home of the breeder, meet the puppy’s mother, and see the litter of puppies. Developing a good relationship with the breeder will bring you peace of mind when purchasing. Contacting breed rescue groups can also be a safe alternative if you are looking for an adult dog. But either way ALWAYS Demand proper papers on your purebred puppy. Ask for the AKC Litter Registration Number and contact AKC customer service at 919-233-9767 to verify registration authenticity of your purebred puppy.
And last but not least there is NOTHING wrong with adopting a shelter animal! There are thousands of animal rescue groups in this country filled with animals that need a second chance at a good life with you!
There are rescue groups for every single dog breed known to man if breed is that important to you. Take a look to find your new furry friend.
So bottom line be careful. Always ask questions. Trust but verify. Love your companion and keep it Wag'N!

Excerpt from a Dog's Plea :
" I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands." Author Unknown

For tips on what to if you pet gets lost or stolen please click here

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