The theft of pets for resale or other purposes is tragic. There are many ways to steal pets, and unsupervised animals are the most vulnerable to all of them. Once taken, these beloved family members may disappear forever. You can protect your pet from being stolen by taking a few precautions.
* Keep your pet on a leash whenever you take him/her on a walk. Make sure pet is always on a leash or in a carrier when in a car to ensure that your pet does not get loose. When your pet wanders awayfrom your protection, he/she becomes vulnerable to theft, and you cannot assume that your pet will be able to find his/her way home.
* Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car or tie your pet outside a store while you run inside- even for a few minutes. It only takes seconds for a thief to take your pet away.
* Never leave your pet alone outside, even in a fenced in yard.
* Neuter or spay your pet to curd his/her desire to roam and to eliminate the incentive for those stealing animals for breeding.
* Make sure your pet wears a collar and identification tag at all times: ID, rabies and license tags can deter thievesby showing that your pet is not a stray. Ask your local animal control agency, shelter or veterinarian if backup methods of identification (tattoos or microchips) are available in your community.
* If your pet is missing, be ready to supply your pet's license information, as well as a recent photograph and accurate written description, to help authorities identify your pet.
* Report suspected incidents of pet theft to your local animal control agency and local police to put them on the alert and help them establish patterns of pet theft.
* Spread the word about the problem of pet theft. If you suspect pet theft is occuring in your area, start a neighborhood watch. The more eyes there are looking out for pets, the better.
Despite federal legislation protecting companion animals, pet theft remains a serious problem. If you would like more information, write to Companion Animals Section, The Humane Society of the United States, 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037