Dog theft runs rampant through Wyoming, and it’s not a new thing. While stolen dogs get more attention in the age of community Facebook groups and personalized news, dog thefts have been a common occurrence for many years. Many people in Wyoming have dogs, and have outdoor yards for them to run. It becomes easy for someone to steal a dog to sell, to keep for themselves, and occasionally to use as bait dogs in illegal dog fights. The popular myth is that most stolen dogs are used for bait dogs, but this appears to be untrue for many Wyoming dog thefts.
Sadly, the law sees dogs as possessions, and treats theft like any other petty crime. Once it happens, all the police will do is take a statement, file a report, and keep the dog’s information on file in case it turns up anywhere. Safeguard your canine companion with a more proactive approach to help prevent theft and, should your dog still be stolen, increase the chances of apprehending the perpetrator.
Don't leave your dog unattended in a yard, even if you're at home
A dog that is stranger-friendly and runs in a yard that comes close to the street is in danger of being stolen. Make sure you’re always outside with your dog when it’s in the yard, and do not leave your dog running loose when you go to work. If the dog must be outside when you leave, confine him to a kennel close to the house, obscured from street view if possible. Put a padlock on the kennel gate for an extra safeguard.
Set up security webcams, and post a surveillance notice on your gate
A surveillance notice alone is often enough to scare thieves away from your home and property. Luckily for the average homeowner, security cameras are cheaper and easier to set up than ever before – you can do it with a webcam. While a webcam may not be practical while you’re home using your computers, it’s a great way to get surveillance on your yard and dog immediately without costing a ton of money. Record the camera footage, or invest in software that will record only when there’s motion in the picture. If your dog still gets stolen, you will be able to offer a video of the theft to local police, hopefully with an identifiable image of the thief.
Microchip your dog
While a microchip won’t prevent theft, it may increase your chances of getting your dog back. Of the roughly 2 million pets that are stolen in the United States every year, only about 10% ever find their way home. Keep the information updated, and put local shelters on alert about your stolen dog. A lot of dogs end up in a shelter at one point or another, which may allow you to bring your stolen dog home if there’s a reliable identifier.
Get a clear picture of your dog
Stolen dogs may be sold to law-abiding individuals, or may escape and be picked up by concerned people who want to help it find its way home. If you have a clear picture of your dog on file with the local animal control, police department and shelter, it will be much easier for these people to identify your dog. Pictures of stolen dogs on local social media groups and Craigslist may also help people identify whether or not they have just bought a stolen dog.
Communicate with your neighbors
Sometimes there are people in your neighborhood that shouldn’t be, and sometimes there are thefts that a neighbor might have seen. Stay in contact with your neighbors, even if it’s through an email list that lets you and your neighbors share important news in your immediate area. Suspicious activity is more likely to be noticed, and everyone is more likely to keep their pets and homes safe.
Get your dog spayed or neutered
Dog owners might not realize that failing to get your dog spayed or neutered could raise the risk of it being stolen. Unaltered dogs can become a cash animal to unscrupulous individuals, and could be stolen expressly for its ability to produce puppies. It’s much easier to sell puppies from a stolen dog than it is to sell the stolen dog itself; it’s ongoing profit, and no one can recognize and claim them as their own.