I’m sure we can all remember either a pet of ours that has gone missing or a friend’s pet that has gone missing, never to return. The assumption is that the animal either was injured or unfortunately died somewhere, or it was picked up by someone else and kept as their own. However, it is shockingly true that many pets are intentionally stolen every year.
Stolen animals aren’t just stolen by people who want them as a pet. Unfortunately, it gets much darker than that. Animals can be stolen for a number of horrifying reasons that all involve profit, such as being sold on the Internet, sold to laboratories, fur traders, even fighting rings.
This might sound outrageous but it can, and does, happen. While many victims are stray dogs and street cats, some criminals even adopt from low-cost shelters. Others steal people’s pets, from cars, porches, sidewalks, even your own yard or kennels. Animals can be sold for the fur or for experimental purposes. Another trend called “pet flipping” involves stealing an animal and then making profit off of it from websites like Craigslist.
Protect your pet! You should spay or neuter your pet anyway if you don’t intend to participate in dog shows, and doing this actually decreases their “value” in the thief market. The easiest way to find a dog, whether stolen or lost, is to microchip them. With a chip, they can be scanned at veterinary clinics and shelters. Most importantly, never leave your dog unattended! Use locks on your gates and doors. Pet theft is a scary reality but you can keep it from happening to you.