The week of March 14 to 21 is UK Pet Theft Awareness Week; shining a spotlight on the issue of pet theft, the causes and prevention.
- bait dogs for fighting rings
- sold by Class B dealers to research and veterinary institutions
- kept by the thief – highly valuable dogs like pure breeds
- sold to or used in puppy mills
- held as ransom for reward money
- use in cult rituals
In the United States and UK, pets are considered property and covered under the same protections when they are taken despite the emotional toll inflicted on the family of the missing pet. While a person whose cellphone has been taken will rarely send out posters or announcements or offer a reward, this is almost always the case when a pet is taken. Pets are becoming increasingly a part of the family, and are considered full members. One indication is the increasing amount of spending on pet health care and gourmet and specialty food.
How can you protect against pet theft? The Animal Legal Defense Fund recommends these measures:
- Be aware of the issue and your environment. Monitor and secure your pets
- Be familiar with your neighborhood and its animals. Familiarize yourself with your neighbors and their pets, and introduce yourself with your pet to your neighbors
- Invite your police precinct and/or victim crime advocate to speak to your neighborhood.
- Keep clear and current documents connecting you with your animals
- Keep information on collars and tags updated.
- Have your animal spayed or neutered.
- Educate your community through letters to the editor about pet theft, and how to prevent animals from getting in the wrong hands.
- Call Emergency Services if you witness a theft. Owners should file formal written complaints with law enforcement and humane associations.
Below are several agencies and organizations involved in the cause of awareness and providing resources to victims.