Owners warned to keep pets safe from thieves

Members of the Domestic Companion Animal Council have seen an alarming rise in dog thefts in recent months and warn pet owners to be vigilant.

In the first three months of 2008, the American Kennel Club has tracked more than 30 thefts from news and customer reports, versus only 10 for all of 2007. Media reports from around the country have shown an escalation in the number of dogs being stolen. In New Jersey this past March, there were two incidents of show dogs being stolen from vehicles.

The Domestic CompanionAnimal Council offers these tips to protect your dog from being stolen:

• Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car or tied outside a store while you run inside, even if it’s just for a minute. It takes only seconds for a thief to steal your dog

• Never leave your dog alone outside- even in a fenced yard

• Keep your dog on a leash when you go for a walk.When your dog strays fromyour protection, he becomes an easy target for thieves

•Make sure your dog wears a collar and identification tag at all times

• Add extra protection by having your dog microchipped or tattooed that will provide permanent, nonremovable identification.

If you suspect your dog has been stolen:

• Immediately call the police and animal control in the area where your dog was last seen

• Have identifying information, such as photos and an accurate written description, ready to use to give to the authorities and for fliers.

We urge you to remain alert to protect your dogs from theft. Remember – the safest place for your pets is with you.
Nina Austenberg
Domestic Companion Animal Council