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How to protect your pet against pet theft

Pet theft might not seem like a huge issue, but if figures from the UK are anything to go by, it’s a growing concern. Pet theft in the UK has risen 33% with dogs alone rising from 1,333 in 2014 to 1,797 in 2015. Pet theft can occur for a variety of reasons. Popular breeds are particularly susceptible, especially if they attract high breeder prices. Resale of a stolen pet can attract quite a good financial return for savvy thieves.

Another reason why pets may be stolen is sadly for use in illegal dog fighting rings. Dogs such as Staffordshire Terriers and rescue crosses can be stolen for fighting. Smaller dogs and kittens may be taken for baiting purposes. Here again, there is financial reward for pet theft as betting pools at dog fighting rings can be in the hundreds and even thousands.

Beyond these two reasons, opportunity to own your pet by other people may be one reason. There have also been cases of well meaning and ill-informed rescues attempting to remove family pets. This usually occurs if the pet in question is habitually found in the street and/or has value.

You can protect against pet theft. While these remedies may not be 100% foolproof, they do go along way to deterring potential pet thieves. Here’s how

Restrict public access

One of the most common ways to find a pet is stolen or unwittingly rescued is by allowing your pet free reign in public spaces. This is especially true of cats. You and the locals may understand that your pet is part of the suburb and your pet may continue to return if given free will. Others may have different plans in mind.

Encouraging your pet to stay within your backyard and on private property is your best recourse.

You may also wish to reduce risk by only allowing your pet to roam freely in low fence areas when you are home and able to see them. Pets greeting over smaller fences, roaming on strips outside the house near footpaths or in driveways can be stolen.

Prevention is often better than cure.

Update to date council registration

Proper registration of your pet with the appropriate council is imperative. It can stop your pet from being mistaken for homeless and destroyed. Microchipping your pet is a pain-free procedure that allows your cat or dog to be returned to you much quicker should they roam.

Always keep both the council registration and microchip details up to date at all times.

Pet tags with recent details

Another way that makes the return of your pet easier and gives a visible sign to others that a pet is loved and owned is a collar with a name and phone number. This makes it simpler for people in the local area to call you should they find your pet. And it can be something that tips off concerned citizens if they see the pet as it poses as another way to identify them in a crowd.

Think before you tie up

Leaving pets tied up outside of shops may be convenient for owners, but they are also convenient for thieves. The problem with tying a dog up out the front of the shop is that your pet can easily be persuaded to follow a new person without anyone seeing a crime take place. Any passer-by may assume it’s simply the rightful owner taking their pet on the rest of the day’s walk.

If you do have plans to shop with your pet in tow, take someone with you so they can wait with the pet.

And never leave a pet alone in a vehicle. Not only is this a potential theft risk, it also places your pet in danger from heatstroke.

Pet training

You can train pets not to follow other people without a command given. In fact, you can train dogs to refuse food without a command and to wait for a command to cease barking at strangers. If your pet is valuable, then training your pet to have a single owner relationship can come in handy.

The drawback with training a pet in this manner means they have to travel with you on every holiday unless you share the commands with a trusted friend. It may also make the pet’s ability to be rehomed if your circumstances change or in the event of your death quite difficult.

Proper fence security

All pets should be housed in safe, secure yards. This includes six foot fences for dogs that are in good repair and gates that can be locked when you are not at home.

This not only deters would-be pet thieves, it may deter your dog from running away, jumping the fence or fleeing for the hills if they receive a fright.

Extra security

If your pet is valuable for any reason, you may wish to look into security against pet theft. Extra security acts as a deterrent. Plus, it can help you recover the pet or prevent a pet theft in progress.

Some ideas for additional security against pet theft include:

  • CCTV through fixed and web cam solutions
  • CCTV connected to your smartphone via an app
  • House alarms that emit sound and light
  • Back to base alarm systems through security firms

In each of these security options, you can obtain footage to identify pet thieves, deter them through alarms and even take further action through security patrols and/or timely notification of the police.

Not sure if your pet is appropriately protected against pet theft?

Bring your pet in and we can check their microchip, help with pet tags and can advise on the kinds of places you can start your pet security journey. We regularly receive pets from concerned citizens in the Wahroonga area and do what we can to return them back home.

We’re also happy to help you with promoting a lost pet if you need assistance. Simply give us a call and we can help you with ideas to outreach in the local area for your pet’s safe return.



About the Author
Owner and Vet Alex Brittan, Vet Katie Syms and the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital pride themselves on quality service. Fox Valley Animal Hospital is the one you choose for your family pet when the care your animal receives really matters.