The term hot dog is gaining a whole new meaning these days as thieves are snatching dogs from parks,
vehicles, backyards, homes, and wherever else dogs are left alone for any period of time
New Delhi, November 29, 2019: The theft of family dogs is up in the country. Dogs are being taken from back gardens, or while out on their walks. It happened to my neighbour when her Beagle pup, Romeo, was tied up in front of the neighbourhood store. Friendly and calm, Romeo seemed comfortable being left alone for a few minutes at a time. But on this day, the checkout line was long, so she left her husband to handle the groceries and went outside to check on Romeo.
All she found was his leash. Romeo was gone. Well-intentioned dog owners who briefly leave their dogs tied up outside local businesses—or in their cars—may not realise that dog theft is an increasing problem. As with any kind of theft, the number one motive behind dog-napping is money. Pure breed and designer dogs are prime targets, but even larger and mixed-breed dogs can be vulnerable. We’ve been getting numerous reports over the years, which prove dog thefts happen fairly regularly in the country—for dogs tied up outside, left in cars, or out for a walk with their human companions.
But these incidents only occasionally make the news. Reason: Despite the heartbreak involved, the law treats the theft of a dog the same as the theft of any other possession. For thieves, the rewards can be high and the risks low. Right now, a dog is treated as a chattel in law, like a laptop or mobile phone, so the sentencing isn’t taken seriously. Unfortunately, dognapping can also often be seen as a low priority by police, which are always short-staffed or lack resources.
We would definitely like the law to be changed to include harsher sentencing for people convicted of dog theft. We want the law to change so dogs are treated as living creatures. Until then, treat your dog like you would your child. You probably already do this in a number of ways, but in this case I mean never — NEVER! — leave your dog unattended in a public space. Just as you wouldn’t dream of leaving your child locked in the car while you shop or tied to a pole while you stop to get coffee, it’s never safe to do these things to your dog, either. If you are considering hiring a pet sitter, dog walker, groomer or even a trainer, do your due diligence first. Ask for references and call them. Read online reviews.
Ask your veterinarian to recommend a professional he or she knows and trusts. These days, it is easy for criminals to pose as professionals, so make sure you are thorough in checking a prospective hire out before trusting them with your best friend. Get your dog some form of permanent identification, like a microchip, and make sure you have all of the documents necessary to prove ownership of your dog in case he or she ever does go missing and is recovered. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for dogs to be stolen by a former romantic partner or roommate. Keep adoption papers or records of sale in a safe place, along with things like vet bills, receipts from the groomer or anything that helps demonstrate that you are the dog’s owner and primary caregiver.
While you can never totally protect your dog from the dangers of the world, many pet thefts occur because of simple mistakes pet parents make. I hope these tips serve as a helpful reminder to always keep your four-legged loves within sight — stay vigilant about security to avoid becoming a statistic!
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