Recent dog thefts leave pet owners nervous
Wed, 05/10/2017 - 10:59am admin
By Kim Soukup TPD Staff
Northeast Iowa - Two million dogs are stolen each year. That’s 5,400 per day. Dog thefts aren’t isolated to the city or someone else’s neighborhood. A series of dog thefts have left northeast Iowa, southern Minnesota and southeast, Wisconsin pet owners wondering what, if anything, can be done to keep their dog safe.
Recently two St. Bernard’s were stolen from a home merely 10 miles north of Iowa. One day they were at home; the next minute, gone. These family members were deeply missed by their human family. But it wasn’t just that the family missed their pets; the dogs depended on daily medication to keep them healthy and alive.
The family called area veterinarians, local officials and took to Facebook to bring their dogs home. Just as they mysteriously disappeared; they mysteriously reappeared a week later. A happy ending to what could have been a very tragic ending for this family and their pets.
The American Kennel Club shares, “Some dogs are taken out of cars, a yard, a pet store and even someone’s arms.”
What is the motivation to steal a dog? Most likely it boils down to a financial one. AKC suggests the thief might try to sell a dog, give the pet as a gift or even hold the animal for ransom.
What can you do to keep your dog safe?
Local H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Every Animal Rescue Team) representative, Katie Houlihan said, “Always make sure you have your tags on your dog(s) and have them microchipped. Be alert to strange vehicles in the area and don’t leave your pets unattended outside. It takes just a minute or two for someone to grab your dog.”
The AKC advises microchipping, keeping your pet on a tight leash, keeping him in your sight at all times, especially when running errands, as well as being cautious of inquisitive strangers who ask you how much you paid for your dog.
Houlihan believes that most animals are stolen for three reasons, to be flipped, to be used for bait or to sell to an animal testing facility.
“A lot of dogs have been disappearing in southeast Minnesota, Fillmore County, and a 100-mile radius recently,” shared Houlihan. “If you don’t have the time and commitment to have a pet; please don’t get one. If your dog or someone else’s goes missing get on Facebook right away. Say ‘believed stolen.’ Those two words will get 1,000 shares opposed to just a few for postings that say ‘lost’ or ‘missing.’”
As always, having a collar with tags is one of the best ways for a dog to be returned to its owner.
But that isn’t the case for a dog that is stolen. A thief will simply take off the collar and throw it away. This is why micro-chipping is so important. If a dog with a microchip ever visits the vet after having been sold on by the thief, it will quickly be identified and may well be returned to the true owner even years after being stolen.
If you do not have your dog microchipped, consider heading down to Decorah this weekend for HSNEI’s 8th Annual Spring into Action Event, Saturday, May 13th, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds, Danan Lansing Building. They will be offering microchipping. The Pooch Scooch (5K run/walk) will also be held, as well as vendors, breakfast, dog tricks, raffle tickets and a bake sale.