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Dog theft during pandemic

Dog Theft during the Pandemic

Pandemic Pups- Dog theft!  

With millions unemployed due to COVID-19 and people desperate for money, violent robberies have become commonplace and brazen thieves will even attack dog parents while walking their dog to attempt a snatch-and-grab.  

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) almost 2 Million dogs are stolen a year. During the pandemic more people have been isolated in their homes which has created an increased demand for pets which has fueled increased pet theft.

One of a pet parents biggest fear is their dog got stolen and rightfully so. Its paralyzing thinking of your fur-baby (child) going missing.

  • Are they being abused or neglected?
  • Were they discarded and trying to survive on the streets?
  • If they required daily medication how would they survive without it?
Dog theft


Reasons dogs are Stolen

  • Research institutions purchase them for testing and biomedical experimentation
  • Puppy mills pay for breeding dogs
  • Thieves await monetary rewards for returns
  • Some purebred dogs are in huge demand and thieves can offer them to unsuspecting buyers at 50% of the cost of buying directly from a breeder
  • Stronger, larger breeds are sometimes used as “bait dogs” in dog fighting rings
  • People cannot afford a dog, so they steal someone else’s


Reasons dogs are stolen

Some dog breeds are valuable commodities

Popular stolen breeds include French Bulldogs. They are high value and can fetch $2,000-$6,500. Koji and Gustav were Frenchies belonging to Lady Gaga that were violently swiped away in broad daylight from a pet sitter.  They were recovered but it is not certain whether the $500,000 reward Lady Gaga offered was paid. Smaller breeds can fetch big bucks including, Yorkies, Chihuahas and Pomeranians that are light and easy to snatch and conceal. Some pet stores sell teacup Pomeranians for up to $10,000 to the fashion set.

Chances are if you have a larger protective breed like a German Shepherd, Great Dane, Argentinian Dogo, Rottweiller or Presa Canario criminals will think twice about stealing them as these dogs can resist, are harder to hide and thieves want to avoid getting a serious injury.

How much are the Costliest dogs worth?

French Bulldogs sell for up to $6,500

Teacup Pomeranians sell for up to $10,000

A rare Tibetan Mastiff with lion blood was sold in China for $1,950,000

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels fetch up to $4,000

German Shepherds that are “Protection Trained” can cost up to $80,000 (Thieves would surely keep away from “Protection Trained” dogs)


How to find a missing dog

How to find your dog if they are stolen or missing

  • Call the Police immediately and file a report
  • Hire a local Pet Detective
  • Post flyers in your neighborhood with posters and offer a reward
  • Place an ad or request a free mention in a local newspaper
  • If you see your dog in someone else’s yard call the police
  • If you see your dog with someone else approach them if you feel its safe and if not follow them from a distance and call the police
  • Call all local and neighboring shelters, veterinary offices and groomers in case a thief has second thoughts and dumps them
  • If your dog has a microchip reach out to the company to see if they will provide an alert to all dog parents in their database

The reason thieves do not fear the consequences- Pets are property

Criminals do not fear the consequences of dog theft in some states as its a misdemeanor with the possibility of no or some jail time and only a small fine. In NYC now for the past couple of years criminals are arrested and released almost immediately so dog theft to criminals can be insignificant but financially rewarding.


 How to prevent dog theft

  • Never leave dogs tied up outside restaurants or stores unattended
  • Have your dogs microchipped
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car even if the air conditioning is on and the doors are locked as thieves can easily break a car window.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the backyard especially if it is visible from the street
  • For your protection and your dogs consider installing a home alarm system
  • If you frequent dog parks or like to have your dog running off-leash keep your eyes peeled for suspicious people lurking around who do not have dogs
  • Keep an id tag or collar identifying your telephone number in case a thief demands a ransom


Tips to prevent dog theft

Because 1/3 of dogs get lost once in their lifetime make sure your dog is microchipped and it might not be a bad idea investing in a GPS collar as well

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