Pet Theft – Protect Your Pets!

It can’t be that easy for my pet to be stolen, right?

According to American Kennel Club, stealing a dog is easier than most people think.

You may think your dogs/pets are safe and secure but a few seconds or minutes is all it takes for dognappers to steal your dogs. If you like to take your pets out with you on errands, AKC recommends leaving your pets at home if your pets can’t be by your side the entire time. Never leave your dog alone in the car, or unattended in general as it leaves your pets vulnerable to thieves.


Why would someone steal my pet?

Up to two million animals are stolen each year and only a small percentage are ever returned home.

Pet theft happens for a variety of reasons. According to Petfinder, stolen animals can be: sold to research laboratories, used as breeders for puppy mills, forced to become dog fighters, be used as bait to train other dog fighters, be used for sadistic acts, and others. PAWS states that there are even thieves who steal pets and wait for owners to post a big reward before returning the stolen pet to collect the reward money!

According to Melissa Chan from TIME, pet theft has increased due to the pandemic as thieves make a profit from reselling stolen animals to people who want animal companionship during quarantine. Although punishment for pet theft varies by stage, pet theft is “mostly considered misdemeanors, and the punishment is similar to the consequences of stealing someone’s couch…the penalty is typically a small fine and often little to no jail time”


How can I safeguard my pets?

We know our pets love being outside, especially our dogs! If you have a backyard, do your best to make your yard not as visible or accessible to strangers. If thieves can see into your yard, they will be able to plan out the best ways to lure your precious pets away. House training your pets so they can be indoors when you’re not home to watch them is also a great safety precaution.

When you take your dogs out for a walk, consider leashing them, even if your dogs are great without a leash. AKC recommends thinking of the leash as a “safety net that keeps your dog close by your side. Without it, there’s no guarantee [your dogs] won’t be led astray from you.”

Properly identify your pets. Have a collar with up to date information, or better yet, have your pets microchipped. If your pets are chipped, in the event they are turned to a shelter or rescued, there is a higher chance you will be contacted! Valley Animal Center’s low-cost clinic offers a microchipping service for only $25. More info HERE.


Help! My pet was stolen! What do I do?

Take action immediately! The safety of your pet depends on your proactiveness and persistence.

  1. File a report with your local police and animal control agencies.
  2. Make a flyer with your pet’s info. Be as detailed as you can be. Provide your contact information and the location of where your pet was last seen.
  3. Reach out to your local shelters and ask to post on any community boards they may have. Valley Animal Center has a Facebook Courtesy Listing we post to when we receive messages about lost/found pets.
  4. Continue to post on social media and social rescue groups. There are so many local groups in Fresno dedicated to reuniting lost pets to their rightful owners. Some that are local to the Fresno area are Fresno Humane Lost/Found Pets and Tower Pets: Lost and Found.
  5. Keep an eye out on pets for sale/adoption ads online, or in local newspapers. Thieves may be trying to sell your pet for a profit. Check carefully the descriptions for any that might match your stolen pet. If you believe you have found your pet, contact your local police or animal control officer first!

Don’t give up hope! Keep on posting flyers and checking social media. There’s a chance your pet may have ended in the home of a caring person who didn’t know this was a stolen pet. 

More Resources About Pet Theft

Valley Animal Center  is dedicated to serving animal companions in the Central Valley and beyond. Our mission is to unite dogs and cats with loving people. We believe every animal deserves a loving family and furever home. Through our membership-based dog park and our low-cost clinic, we also provide local and accessible resources and services to the animal lovers and pet communities while rescuing animals in need from local animal control agencies. Donate HERE to support our endless mission.