Beware of 'dog-flipping' pet thieves
In an alarmingly rising trend, robbers are targeting pets that they then resell, with some even winding up in dog-fight rings.
Similar stories on "dog flipping" have been reported elsewhere, such as in Georgia and Indiana, which underscore data from the American Kennel Club (AKC) showing that dog thefts are on the rise, increasing 27.8% between January and May on a year-over-year basis.
The thieves can be bold. Indeed, someone stole three purebred German shepherds valued at $2,500 each in May from a kennel in Hawaii.
AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson, in an email to MSN moneyNOW said the AKC's Companion Animal Recovery National Pet Theft Database shows "pet theft has consistently been on the rise over the past five years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down."
These reports should prompt pet owners to take extra precautions such as "microchipping" their furry friends so that their owners' addresses can be determined if their pets get lost or stolen. Without these records, reuniting pets and their owners can be difficult.
Pet theft reports surge in the summertime in places such as New York City as "pet parents" run errands and walk their pets at the same time to take advantage of the nice weather.
Unfortunately, catching the thieves can be difficult.
"Most often dogs are taken from one area and sold far away so there will be no connection," according to A Helping Paw, which operates a shelter in Massachusetts. "Dogs are even being stolen from pet stores and animal shelters."
Thieves are especially interested in purebred and smaller dogs, which are easy to transport, that they can sell for quick cash. According to the AKC, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Labrador retrievers and French bulldogs are popular with thieves. Pit bulls are the most-stolen dogs so far this year.
Some evidence indicates that stolen dogs can wind up being used as "bait" in dog fighting rings. Some are even held for ransom. Sadly, this is a worldwide problem and has been reported in the U.K. and Canada among other places.
Using common sense may also help thwart would-be thieves. The ASPCA encourages pet owners to leave their furry friends at home unless the owners are going to "pet-friendly" businesses and to keep a close eye on their pet when it's off the leash. Also, be suspicious of strangers who say they admire your dog but pepper you with questions about how much it costs and where you live.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
I want someone to make a tiny GPS tracking chip that I can put into all of my pets so I can get online or on my phone and see where they are in the world. If they can do that for iPads, why can't they do it for pets too? An iPad can be replaced, a pet can't.
I had my five dogs stolen once by my ex, who had someone come take them when he knew I wouldn't be home (we were both in court for the divorce, so he had an alibi). Of course since I had no proof or witnesses of any kind, and the ex would not admit to anything, there was nothing law enforcement could do. I was without my dogs for over 6 months. One day, after things were finalized, a truck backed partially down my drive, dumped them out and then took off. Three of my dogs had been returned and looked like they had been locked in a filthy kennel without food the entire time. I can only assume the other two died. I was in such shock, horror at their emaciated bodies, disbelief and too far from the house to get to my car in time to chase the man down (lucky for that SOB), but I'll never forget the sadness and guilt I felt that my dogs had to suffer because someone wanted to get back at me through them. This was after I had been civil the entire time. So pet stealing does happen and the cowards don't do it when you are standing right there, they do it like the cockroaches that they are and are very hard to catch. I hope Karma gets all of them good before they go to a special place in hell for people with no soul.
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