Two million canines are stolen every year and about 10% are returned residence, in accordance with Petfinder.com. We name this dognapping — the crime of taking a canine from his proprietor, derived from the time period kidnapping.
Throughout the world, pets are stolen for quite a lot of causes, like being resold as a companion pet, to gathering rewards from distressed house owners or for combating in dogfights, simply to call a couple of. In the final two and half years, there was a rise in canine thefts as a way to make fast cash by criminals trying to reap the benefits of the elevated demand for canine companionship through the pandemic.
What are the highest canines stolen and from the place?
According to the American Kennel Club Vice-President of Public Relations, Brandi Hunter-Munden, a number of the prime stolen canines within the Unites States are:
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Boston Terriers
- English Bulldogs
- Pit Bulls
- French Bulldogs
Brandi notes that in previous years, unsuspecting house owners would go away canines of their yards for a couple of minutes for them to “do their enterprise” or tether their pets outdoors a retailer to run a fast errand. “Now, we see many canines are stolen from inside houses, yards and automobiles in addition to being yanked from their house owners on the streets all through the nation,” she says.
Furthermore, Brandi clarifies that “many of those breeds are stolen instantly from house owners as a result of they’re small, transportable, docile and don’t put up a fuss when snatched from their house owners.”
Who are the victims of canine theft?
Pet house owners are usually not the one victims of pet theft. Dog breeders are prime candidates, too. For breeders like Louisiana’s Patricia Sosa, there’s a ready listing for her restricted provide of fastidiously bred French Bulldog puppies. In her 30-plus 12 months love affair with the breed, she solely had one particular person steal a canine by writing a nasty test, virtually 15 years in the past.
“But in the previous couple of years, since many French Bulldogs have been stolen from pet house owners and breeders, I’ve needed to take severe, safety precautions,” Patricia says. She fastidiously pre-screens candidates through cellphone and checks references earlier than she invitations potential canine house owners to her residence to view puppies.
“I by no means give them my deal with till the final attainable minute as a way to shield myself, my residence and my puppies,” she explains. Additionally, earlier than inviting potential canine house owners into her residence, she explains to them that she has a safety system and community of cameras protecting her residence, kennels and the remainder of the property. Lastly, she tells them that she has a guard canine — a Doberman that will likely be current whereas they’re visiting her premises. “Armed with this info, they will make the choice to return to my kennel,” she says.
But breeders are usually not the one ones to have canines stolen from them. Many pet shops all through the nation have skilled canine thefts for the reason that pandemic. In 2021, after two girls entered a Texas pet retailer and requested to see a French Bulldog, the shop complied. Once the canine was of their fingers, the 2 instantly ran out the door. Store workers rapidly reported the incident and outline of the automobile to the police. Soon after, the officers discovered the ladies allegedly trying to reattach the license plate that they had eliminated in preparation for the heist.
Do felony statutes and penalties fluctuate concerning K9 theft?
Dogs, and different companion animals, are at the moment classed as “property” in theft sentencing. As a end result, offenders who steal canines are given related sentences to those that steal inanimate objects. Unfortunately, most states think about pet theft a misdemeanor, and the penalties embody small fines and little-to-no jail time.
Only round 15 states deal with canine theft of their felony codes. While felony fees and penalties do fluctuate from state to state, California and Louisiana impose fees and penalties which might be primarily based on the financial worth of the stolen canines. However, Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New York and Mississippi have extreme felony statutes. In these states, canine theft is a felony with six months to 10 years of jail time. Additionally, fines begin at $200 and may equate as much as thrice the worth of the stolen animal, however not exceeding $500,000. Quite a variety, too!
Animal advocates agree that penalties for canine theft ought to be extra extreme than that of stealing inanimate, non-living property. Recent research and case legislation have acknowledged that the animal-human bond is exclusive, and the implications of labeling a canine property is antiquated.
How can canine lovers assist?
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group, is an animal legislation advocacy group whose said mission is to guard the lives and advance the pursuits of animals by way of the authorized system. The group encourages animal lovers to take motion by lobbying native, state and authorities representatives and companies to alter legal guidelines to guard animals.
If you want to assist enact extra state felony statutes, undertake harsher measures and better penalties in opposition to canine theft, set up and meet with like-minded canine house owners and work with animal rights organizations to alter pet theft legal guidelines.
One final thing: If you’ve had your pet stolen, be affected person, be diligent, be lively and don’t hand over. He is likely to be returned to you.
How to forestall canine theft
There are steps you may take to make sure you and your canine are usually not a goal for dognapping.
- Microchip your canine, register the microchip with the microchip company and hold the data up to date.
- Have your canine put on a collar along with your cellphone quantity and ID tag with related and present info, like your electronic mail deal with and the phrase “Reward.”
- Have your canine put on a GPS tracker that may observe your canine in actual time to find his whereabouts.
- Do not go away breed doormats or grasp breed flags outdoors your house, as this serves as an commercial for thieves.
- Keep all doorways locked and home windows closed when you’re not residence. Install cameras in your house specializing in key entry and exit factors.
- Do not go away your canine unattended outdoors in your yard, in your automobile or tied up outdoors a retailer.
- Be cautious of strangers who strategy you to speak about your canine. Do not give them any details about the place you reside, how usually you stroll your canine or your canine’s title.
- Try to stroll canines in daytime, barely various the time. Thieves search for constant dog-walking habits.
- Notice your atmosphere. Watch for parked automobiles in your space and take note of pedestrians, who simply don’t appear “to suit.”
- Keep a watchful eye in your
canine within the canine park and don’t stroll your canine off-leash in your neighborhood.
What to do in case your canine is stolen
If dognapping does occur to you, take these steps instantly.
- Security consultants agree that in case your canine is stolen, don’t attempt to chase the assailants or leap within the automobile with them as a result of you may get badly injured and even shot.
- Write down as a lot as you may keep in mind concerning the thief or thieves and the getaway automobile.
- Call the police and file a report with as a lot detailed info as you may keep in mind.
- Call your microchip firm so that folks in your space will obtain a misplaced pet alert and be looking out.
- Reach out to native lacking pets and neighborhood teams on social media. Post an image of your pet and describe him completely. Post by yourself social feed to get the phrase out, too!
- Make a flyer together with face and physique photographs of your pet, providing a reward for info resulting in his protected restoration. Do not point out that he was stolen, as there’s a risk the thief could need to return him and keep away from prosecution. Post flyers within the space, together with native canine parks or the place massive teams of individuals congregate.
- Contact the native veterinary workplaces, groomers, doggie daycares, boarding amenities and shelters, because the thieves would possibly need to drop him there.
- Write a letter to native media retailers (newspapers, radio and TV) together with an image and full description of your canine and a proof of what occurred. Give them a heartfelt story about what your canine means to you. If you discover out that different canines in your residential space have been stolen, embody that. This can immediate them to report your story in addition to a criminal offense wave of dognapping so residents will likely be looking out in your canines — and to watch out with their very own.
- Beware of scammers who would possibly name you for the reward or ask for cash to return your canine.
- Regularly assessment on-line postings for pet adoptions and pet gross sales.
- Don’t hand over!
Why some pups are dognapped greater than others
Some of the contributing components as to why some canines are stolen greater than others is that the fascinating breeds of as we speak are uncommon, stylish and troublesome to get one’s fingers on, particularly the French Bulldog — a breed that could be a major candidate for theft.
“Frenchies have been turn into stylish on account of their social media presence, particularly on Instagram, in addition to their breed’s illustration, which will be discovered on sheets, sweaters, cellphone circumstances and in advert campaigns,” says Brandi Hunter-Munden, AKC vice chairman of public relations.
Another contributing issue to the breed’s reputation is that many French Bulldogs are owned by notable celebrities like Lady Gaga (who had been famously and violently dognapped in 2021), Dwayne Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Madonna and Reese Witherspoon. And, with a hefty price ticket — beginning at $4K and up, there’s an implied elite standing from proudly owning this breed.
In the case of French Bulldogs, the demand outweighs the provision and that have to be figured into the explanation why the breed is a first-rate contender for being stolen. French Bulldogs have smaller litters, providing a restricted provide for such a voracious demand.