It's a dog-owner's worst nightmare.
You think your pet is safely behind a secure fence or dozing in the sunshine only to find you've been robbed. And they took only your best friend.
It's a scary scenario that is becoming far too common as thieves dream up new ways to make some quick cash. Pets are not only easy to find (nearly 50% of households own at least one dog) but also easy to sell online to unsuspecting buyers. And criminals know that local police forces are not likely to make finding a lost pet a top priority.
Chris was faced with the terror of having his Pitbull stolen. He told News 13, "I was scared that somebody was going to try to fight him... he's not a fighting dog."
Chris' dog was thankfully recovered after being spotted with a stranger. The case is still under investigation but the family is mostly just happy to have their pet back home where he's safe.
While crime in major cities is bound to happen, there are a few things you can do to help avoid becoming the next victim of pet theft.
- Avoid leaving your pet outside unattended. Especially in the early morning and evening hours.
- Never tie your pet up outside a business or leave them in an unattended vehicle.
- Purchase a microchip for your pet and keep your contact information current. Dog tags can be removed but a microchip is the only sure way to prove an animal belongs to you.
- If you see a stranger with your pet, avoid approaching them by yourself. It's best to have a police officer there in case of confrontation.
- If your pet is stolen or missing, check websites such as Craigslist.com, Ebay Classifieds, and local flea markets. Do this in addition to reporting the case to the authorities and contacting pet alert companies. Some owners have been successful by launching social media campaigns to help spread the word. Stolen pets aren't necessarily going to still be in the area.