Two million canines are stolen annually and about 10% are returned house, in response to Petfinder.com. We name this dognapping — the crime of taking a canine from his proprietor, derived from the time period kidnapping.
All through the world, pets are stolen for quite a lot of causes, like being resold as a companion pet, to accumulating rewards from distressed homeowners or for preventing in dogfights, simply to call just a few. Within the final two and half years, there was a rise in canine thefts with a purpose to make fast cash by criminals seeking to benefit from the elevated demand for canine companionship in the course of the pandemic.
What are the highest canines stolen and from the place?
In response to the American Kennel Membership Vice-President of Public Relations, Brandi Hunter-Munden, a number of the high stolen canines within the Unites States are:
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Boston Terriers
- English Bulldogs
- Pit Bulls
- French Bulldogs
Brandi notes that in previous years, unsuspecting homeowners would depart 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 properties, yards and vehicles in addition to being yanked from their homeowners on the streets all through the nation,” she says.
Moreover, Brandi clarifies that “many of those breeds are stolen instantly from homeowners as a result of they’re small, transportable, docile and don’t put up a fuss when snatched from their homeowners.”
Who’re the victims of canine theft?
Pet homeowners will not be the one victims of pet theft. Canine breeders are prime candidates, too. For breeders like Louisiana’s Patricia Sosa, there’s a ready checklist for her restricted provide of rigorously bred French Bulldog puppies. In her 30-plus yr love affair with the breed, she solely had one individual steal a canine by writing a nasty examine, nearly 15 years in the past.
“However in the previous few years, since many French Bulldogs have been stolen from pet homeowners and breeders, I’ve needed to take critical, safety precautions,” Patricia says. She rigorously pre-screens candidates by way of cellphone and checks references earlier than she invitations potential canine homeowners to her house to view puppies.
“I by no means give them my handle till the final doable minute with a purpose to shield myself, my house and my puppies,” she explains. Moreover, earlier than inviting potential canine homeowners into her house, she explains to them that she has a safety system and community of cameras overlaying her house, kennels and the remainder of the property. Lastly, she tells them that she has a guard canine — a Doberman that might be current whereas they’re visiting her premises. “Armed with this data, they will make the choice to come back to my kennel,” she says.
However breeders will not be the one ones to have canines stolen from them. Many pet shops all through the nation have skilled canine thefts because the pandemic. In 2021, after two girls entered a Texas pet retailer and requested to see a French Bulldog, the shop complied. As soon as the canine was of their fingers, the 2 instantly ran out the door. Retailer staff rapidly reported the incident and outline of the automobile to the police. Quickly after, the officers discovered the ladies allegedly making an attempt to reattach the license plate they’d eliminated in preparation for the heist.
Do felony statutes and penalties differ concerning K9 theft?
Canines, and different companion animals, are at present classed as “property” in theft sentencing. Consequently, offenders who steal canines are given related sentences to those that steal inanimate objects. Sadly, most states contemplate pet theft a misdemeanor, and the penalties embody small fines and little-to-no jail time.
Solely round 15 states handle canine theft of their felony codes. Whereas felony costs and penalties do differ from state to state, California and Louisiana impose costs and penalties which are based mostly on the financial worth of the stolen canines. Nonetheless, 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. Moreover, fines start at $200 and might equate as much as thrice the worth of the stolen animal, however not exceeding $500,000. Fairly a variety, too!
Animal advocates agree that penalties for canine theft must be extra extreme than that of stealing inanimate, non-living property. Current 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 Authorized Protection 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 via the authorized system. The group encourages animal lovers to take motion by lobbying native, state and authorities representatives and businesses to alter legal guidelines to guard animals.
If you need to assist enact extra state felony statutes, undertake harsher measures and better penalties towards canine theft, set up and meet with like-minded canine homeowners and work with animal rights organizations to alter pet theft legal guidelines.
One very last thing: In case you have had your pet stolen, be affected person, be diligent, be lively and don’t hand over. He is likely to be returned to you.
The right way to forestall canine theft
There are steps you possibly can take to make sure you and your canine will not be 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 data, like your e-mail handle and the phrase “Reward.”
- Have your canine put on a GPS tracker that may monitor your canine in actual time to find his whereabouts.
- Don’t depart breed doormats or cling breed flags outdoors your private home, as this serves as an commercial for thieves.
- Preserve all doorways locked and home windows closed when you find yourself not house. Set up cameras in your house specializing in key entry and exit factors.
- Don’t depart 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. Don’t give them any details about the place you reside, how usually you stroll your canine or your canine’s identify.
- Attempt to stroll canines in daytime, barely various the time. Thieves search for constant dog-walking conduct.
- Discover your surroundings. Look ahead to parked vehicles in your space and take note of pedestrians, who simply don’t appear “to suit.”
- Preserve 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.
- Safety consultants agree that in case your canine is stolen, don’t attempt to chase the assailants or soar within the automobile with them as a result of you may get badly injured and even shot.
- Write down as a lot as you possibly can keep in mind concerning the thief or thieves and the getaway automobile.
- Name the police and file a report with as a lot detailed data as you possibly can keep in mind.
- Name your microchip firm so that folks in your space will obtain a misplaced pet alert and be looking out.
- Attain out to native lacking pets and neighborhood teams on social media. Publish an image of your pet and describe him completely. Publish by yourself social feed to get the phrase out, too!
- Make a flyer together with face and physique pictures of your pet, providing a reward for data resulting in his protected restoration. Don’t point out that he was stolen, as there’s a risk the thief could wish to return him and keep away from prosecution. Publish 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 wish to drop him there.
- Write a letter to native media shops (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. When you discover out that different canines in your residential space have been stolen, embody that. This may immediate them to report your story in addition to against the law wave of dognapping so residents might be looking out in your canines — and to watch out with their very own.
- Watch out for scammers who would possibly name you for the reward or ask for cash to return your canine.
- Frequently evaluation on-line postings for pet adoptions and pet gross sales.
- Don’t hand over!
Why some pups are dognapped greater than others
A number of the contributing elements as to why some canines are stolen greater than others is that the fascinating breeds of in the present day are uncommon, stylish and troublesome to get one’s fingers on, particularly the French Bulldog — a breed that could be a main candidate for theft.
“Frenchies have been turn out to be stylish attributable to 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.
One other contributing issue to the breed’s reputation is that many French Bulldogs are owned by notable celebrities like Woman Gaga (who have 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.
Within the case of French Bulldogs, the demand outweighs the provision and that should be figured into the rationale why the breed is a main contender for being stolen. French Bulldogs have smaller litters, providing a restricted provide for such a voracious demand.