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 award 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 are "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 he [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 is currently offering a $10 discount for our microchipping services all through May and June.


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

Stop Animal Cruellaty Campaign

This campaign aims to educate our community members about the ways to ensure the safety of their pets, and even the pets who may wander into their lives. So many cats and dogs have been adopted from our shelter to loving homes, and we want to continue being able to support adopters and their pets by providing impactful information. Valley Animal Center is also here to provide our services where applicable to increase the health and safety of our furry companions and their loving owners. If you support what we do, follow us on our social media, or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on how you can support us.

Valley Animal Center

Located in Fresno, CA, Valley Animal Center serves the locale regions of the Central Valley. Upon entering our shelter, cats are tested for Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia. Both dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped, and administered any additional medical care as needed. Even those once considered un-adoptable due to their medical conditions or disabilities have been rehabilitated and ultimately adopted into loving families. With the mission of uniting every cat and dog with a loving home, we utilize the resources, donations, and support from our community to fulfilling that mission.