Pet Theft Prevention !
Losing a pet can be a heart-wrenching experience for anyone who has an emotional attachment to an animal. Some losses can't be avoided… all pets have a finite lifespan, for example… but loss by theft or just plain "running away" can often be prevented.
The key element is to:
Protect Your Pets !
Following is a list of pro-active measures that should be taken…
Properly identify your pets with a collar and tags, at all times, as well as a microchip and/or a tattoo. Rabies and license tags should be kept up-to-date and are required by law in most municipalities. A tattoo/microchip warning tag (if appropriate) warns finders that your pet is permanently identified (tattoos may be hard to see on longhaired pets and microchips can't be seen at all) and gives them a central registry phone number to call. ID tags are available if you don't mind finders knowing your name, address, and phone number.
Tattooing and/or Microchipping a pet allows for a positive ID (many people do both). Some people tattoo their Social Security Number (caution, beware of Identity Theft !), Drivers License Number (including your state) or their purebred pet's Registration Number (be sure to include registry initials: AKC, UKC, CFA, etc.) inside the thigh or on the belly (do not use the ears as they can be torn due to injury or cut off).
Be sure to Register and keep current all Registrations with your municipality and the appropriate tattoo or microchip registries. An unregistered tattoo or microchip is useless. The person who tattoos your pet or injects the microchip should give you information on how to register it.
Keep recent photos and written descriptions of your pets on hand at all times.
Keep your pets indoors especially when you're not at home. It is best not to leave your pet unattended in the yard at all…it only takes a minute to steal a pet out of it's yard. Unfortunately, my neighbor had this happen and she was at home at the time. Cats that are kept indoors live longer, safer lives too!
Padlocking your gates makes it difficult for others to get to your dog if you must keep your pet outdoors unsupervised. Be sure that the padlocks and chains are placed high enough to prevent the ground being used as leverage for bolt cutters.
If your pet is in an unfenced area…keep him/her out of view of the street and please do not allow them to roam the neighborhood.
Spay or Neuter all pets. This makes them less inclined to wander and eliminates any resale value for breeding purposes.
Beware of strangers in your neighborhood and report anything unusual such as suspicious activity or missing pets to the Police and Animal Control. If a stranger approaches you about buying or breeding your pet, tell him the pet has been spayed or neutered, even if it hasn't and Do Not talk to strangers about the value, bloodlines, training or special abilities of your pet. Write down the person's name, address (if you can get it), license plate number and keep a close eye on your pet afterwards!
Do Not put your pet's name on his ID tag or display it on his dog house. A pet is much more likely to go to (and with) a stranger who calls him by name.
Never let your dog off his chain or leash… even for a minute, if you won't be right there to watch him the whole time! In most places it's illegal and it's an open invitation for trouble. Don't leave your dog tied in public places while you go in stores to shop even for just a loaf of bread.
If your pet disappears… Don't wait, act immediately! Call your local Animal Control Department and/or Humane Society right away. If you suspect theft, report it to your local law enforcement agency as well.