It is estimated that nearly two million pets are stolen each year.
Pet theft is more widespread than people think and it is not just confined to “bad” neighborhoods. Pet FBI has had reports of pets snatched from fenced yards, parked cars, front porches, anywhere a pet is left unattended. Occasionally we hear about people whose pets have been taken and dumped by a disgruntled neighbor or an angry spouse.
Most often, there is a profit motive to pet theft. Someone might steal a purebred dog in the hopes of selling it to an unsuspecting individual, or, if the pet is not neutered, to a breeder or a puppy mill. Pets are also collected by Class B dealers to sell to labs. Dog fighting rings snatch breeds that have a reputation as fighters. Dog fighting rings also snatch cats. If you are someone who loves animals, these abuses are too horrible to contemplate and I shudder as I write this, but people need to be aware.
If you are reading this it may be that you think your pet has been stolen. Pet FBI is not a detective agency, although there are pet detectives (Pet FBI stands for Pets Found By Internet, and we maintain a database on line of lost and found pet reports.) We can only offer advice and an expression of sympathy.
Advice for Recovering a Stolen Pet:
- First, follow the suggestions on our ‘lost pet action plan ‘ pages. It is possible that your pet was not stolen or that even if stolen, it broke away.
- Post a lost report. It is best not to mention that you think the pet was stolen. It might make the thief or an honest good Samaritan hesitant to come forth.
- Presumably, if a pet is stolen, most times it is for a profit motive. Offer a reward, but better not to mention how much.
- If someone does claim to have your pet, never meet in an out of the way place , never meet alone, and do not hand over money until you have the pet in hand.
- Put up flyers in prominent places in the area where you think your pet was stolen. Presumably, the thief passes through the area and will see your poster and may respond to the prospect of a reward.
- File a police report with your local police department or sheriff’s office immediately. A police report will be useful for identification purposes when retrieving your pet and could prove helpful in court if a suspect is brought to trial. If the authorities are hesitant to prepare the report, remind them that pets by law are valuable “property” and their theft is either a felony or misdemeanor under all state laws. By law, the police must take action on your complaint. Be persistent.
- Sometimes pets are stolen to be sold for a profit, especially pure bred cats and dogs. Some people have reported that they found their pet offered for sale in a classified ad. Check your local newspaper, Craigslist or Hoobly.com.