Stolen Dogs - What to do in Case of Dognapping

Stolen Dogs - What to do in Case of Dognapping

Author WDF Staff


The idea that there are people who steal other people’s dogs is terrifying. The truth is - we live in a cruel world, and those that make a living out of stealing will stop at nothing to make a quick buck. One of the things dog owners are afraid of is their dogs getting stolen from them. There is nothing worse that can happen to our beloved pets. Here’s what you should know about dognappings and how to keep your dog safe from those that might want to steal them.

What is dognapping?

The word dognapping comes from the word kidnapping. It means stealing a dog from an owner to gain financial benefits. Many dog owners face this problem each year, and we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make sure your dog is always safe. Even if something like this happens, you should know how to react and hope that your measures will be enough to recover your dog.

boston terrier

Why do people steal dogs?

The main reason dogs get stolen, or dognapped, today is financial gain. Thieves steal dogs they can sell, and they don’t really care what that does to the dog or the dog’s family and owners. Until 1966, dogs were getting stolen and sold for medical testing. Luckily, in 1966, Animal Welfare Act reduced those incidents.

Another possible reason dogs get stolen is to be used as bait dogs. This usually happens to larger dogs. This is one of the most brutal things anyone can do to a dog. The point is that the stolen dog gets used as bait for dogs being prepared for fighting rings. Dog owners need to make sure nothing like that ever happens to their dogs, so make sure you remember how to keep your dog safe.

How to keep a dog safe from dognapping?

Just a couple of seconds are enough for a thief to snatch your dog and run or drive off. Most dog owners are not aware of the dangers and potentially risky situations they put their dogs in. Here are a few things you should remember;

1. Going on errands

If you love taking your dog with you while you run some errands, you should know you might leave your dog in a potentially dangerous situation. If you leave your dog in the car to go to a shop or bank, a thief can easily break your glass and take the dog. It would be best to leave your dog at home.


2. Microchip

Making sure your dog is microchipped is one of the best things you can do to prevent losing them. Not only will a microchip help recover your dog if they run away, but it will also help you a lot in case of dognapping. A thief or the new owners will have to go to the vet, and the microchip will let the vet know whose dog that actually is.

3. Leash

When we use the same route to walk our dog, we can get overly confident and let them walk off-leash. However, those looking to steal your dog will use every possible trick to lure them away. Make sure your dog is safely close to you.

4. Keep an eye on your backyard

The chances of a thief coming into your home or backyard are slimmer, but they can still happen. If you let your dog out in your yard, make sure you keep an eye on them. Check up on them every now and then, and make sure they are safe and out of trouble.

chihuahua in owners lap

Which dog breeds are mostly stolen?

Smaller dog breeds are easier to steal than larger ones. Plus, if you try to steal a Cane Corso, and the dog decides to fight back, chances are you will not be very successful with that. However, smaller breeds like Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Shih Tzu, or French Bulldogs can easily be carried away. Plus, they can go for a lot more money than some other breeds. Here are the most commonly stolen dogs in the US;

  1. Yorkie
  2. Pomeranian
  3. Maltese
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. French Bulldog
  6. Chihuahua
  7. Labradoodle
  8. Pit Bull Terrier
  9. German Shepherd
  10. Labrador

What to do in case of dognapping?

If something terrible like this happens to you, you must react as fast as possible. Here are a few things you can do if your dog gets stolen;

1. Contact police

The first thing you should do is call the police. They might have information about people in your neighborhood you don’t. You would be surprised how well criminals are hidden. Let them know what happened, and ask for their advice on further action.

yorkshire terrier

2. Alert shelters

Contact animal shelters within a 50-mile radius. If possible, visit them on a daily basis. Your dog might have wandered away, and if someone found them, chances are they will take them to an animal shelter.

3. Check your neighborhood

One of the most common things that happen is - dogs simply run away. If you haven’t actually seen anyone take your dog, start sweeping your neighborhood. Your dog might have gone looking for something that interested them. Many cases are resolved by simply looking around.

4. Check online for dog selling ads

If you are sure your dog was stolen, you should search craigslist or yellow pages. Look for dog selling ads and check ads for your dog’s breed. However, be careful not to reveal too much information because a thief will not want to meet with you if they know your dog was stolen. Also, look at online resources for lost and found dogs.

5. Flyers

One of the easiest and most effective things you can do is post flyers all over your neighborhood. Print out your dog’s most recent picture, and start distributing flyers. Attach them to lamp posts, trees, coffee shops, supermarkets, pet shops, basically, anywhere where people are. Someone might have information that might help you recover your dog.

You can find more helpful tips here - What to do if your dog gets lost?

World Dog Finder team

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