Pet theft is on the rise in our modern world. The ease of access to online marketplaces (Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, etc.) has almost made it convenient for thieves to sell a stolen animal quickly and easily. An ad can be posted, responded to, and taken down in anywhere from minutes to hours, with no trace left behind.
Police tend not to publicly track pet theft data, often classifying them the same as property theft. However, according to Petlynx, a digital pet registry service base in Alberta, an estimated one million animals go missing every year in Canada, many of which are stolen.
Purebred dogs tend to bring the most money, putting them the most at risk. Purebred cats can also bring a high price tag, though they are less commonly stolen as they are less commonly owned in the first place. Purebred cats also tend not to spend much time outside.
What can you do to keep your pets safe from theft? There are some rules you can follow to ensure their time outside is safe and enjoyable!
- Tattooing & Microchipping – Having an undeniable, identifiable mark on your pet is the best way to ensure they can be returned to you if they go missing and are found. A tattoo or microchip is the best way to go about this, as it registers your pet and shows other individuals they have a family and are cared for.
- Home Security – This is good to have in general, but especially if you have a pet that spends a lot of time outside. Home security provides an extra layer of reassurance. It won’t directly stop someone from taking your pet, but if they know you have security, it may act as a deterrent. Additionally, if someone does take your pet, you will have video footage to provide to the police or the general public.
- Proper Fencing – If you have an outdoor pet, proper fencing is important. A fence that’s high enough to deter an animal from climbing over it will also typically deter a person. Some thefts occur when a thief can lean over a fence and pick up a pet – so it’s worth having a tall enough fence that a full-grown person cannot simply bend and reach over.
- Be Careful on Social Media – We all love to share our pets’ follies on social media; their wins, their losses, and their weird but cute moments. Sometimes, if our social media is set to public, sharing stories about our pets can be dangerous. People on the hunt for purebred animals to steal, and resell, will comb public accounts to identify potential victims. Additionally, if you’re going out of town, it’s just good practice to avoid posting about it on social media. Nothing wrong with sharing photos afterward, but by posting publicly in advance of, or during, your trip, you let other people know your home will be, or is currently, unattended.
- Get Pet Sitters When Out of Town – When you go out of town, instead of having someone come in to feed your pet, try to find someone who will stay with them. Some thieves will track certain animals and wait for the owners to leave town before making a move.
- Walk in Pairs – If you’re walking your dogs or cats, if you can, try to walk in pairs. Some people have had their pets stolen from them while they are out taking them for a walk, alone. By walking with someone else, it makes it a lot harder for a thief to make their move.