Dognapping cases continue to rise
By:   //  Crime

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A community in northern New York state is shocked, saddened and stumped by the rise in dognapping cases.

Dogs have been reported lost, stolen or missing from seven different townships in St. Lawrence County, near the Canadian border. The dogs vary in breed and include Pomeranians, Labrador retrievers and mixed breeds.

Officials there said there could be any number of reasons for the disappearances. They could be taken to be used for dog fighting, for resale or for breeding in puppy mills.

Dognapping has been on the rise and some experts say that it has become an organized, multimillion dollar business that they further claim few pay attention to until it happens in their own community.

According to the American Kennel Association, in 2013, the organization has tracked more than 590 pet thefts from news and customer reports, a 31 percent increase over 2012. Thefts range from tiny puppies being stuffed into purses at pet stores to most recently, purebred pets being snatched from cars in parking lots and shelters. The AKC offers the following advice to prevent your “best friend” from being a target of a crime:

In the Neighborhood

  • Don’t let your dog off-leash

Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves.

  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard

Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.

  • Be Cautious with information

If strangers approach you to admire your dog during walks, don’t answer questions about how much the dog cost or give details about where you live.

On the Road

  • Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked

Besides the obvious health risks this poses to the dog, it’s also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment. Leaving expensive items in the car such as a GPS unit or laptop will only encourage break-ins and possibly allow the dog to escape, even if the thieves don’t decide to steal it too.

  • Don’t tie your dog outside a store

This popular practice among city-dwelling dog owners can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

It is also recommended that the dog be microchipped. The procedure is relatively painless and most microchips will last the life of the dog.

These tips should help ward against you and your pet being a victim of dognapping.

Image: Flickr/Vision Chen

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