Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

8 Ways to Steal a Dog



For most people, the holidays are a time of peace and solace, but for Cory  and Sarah Malchow, the holidays became the start of a nightmare. While Sarah was  out walking her dog, she was attacked from behind, and her 4-month-old Pit Bull mix was stolen.

Reports indicate that one assailant grabbed Sarah from behind, held her in  the air, and threw her to the ground. Meantime, another assailant approached  from behind, unclipped the dog from his leash, and took off in a car.

According to, as many as 2 million pets are stolen every  year. Sadly, only 10 percent are ever reunited with their pet parents. Stolen  dogs meet many ends. Some are sold to research labs, others are used by  unscrupulous breeders in puppy mills, while still others are forced into dog  fighting, among other very disturbing horrific purposes.

To catch a criminal, think like the criminal, right? To prevent a dog from  being stolen, think like the low life. Here are eight things dog thieves want  you to do — followed by ways you can prevent your dog from becoming a  statistic:

1. Leave your dog alone in a car

This is a favored method of pet thieves. Not only are dogs at risk of death  in the warmer months from being left alone in cars, but they also can freeze in  the winter time. I recall a local story about a gentleman who ran into a  shopping mall, leaving his two Samoyed dogs behind for a “short time.” He returned to find  the windows smashed and his dogs stolen. The bottom line: Don’t do it.

2. Tie your dog up outside, alone

A 7-year-old girl was out shopping with her mom for the Christmas holidays  recently and leashed her dog up outside the store. As the duo perused items, a  thief was caught on hidden surveillance unleashing Marley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The thief attempted to sell  Marley on the streets, where a teacher bought the dog because she felt something  was wrong. The dog was eventually reunited with his family, but this is rare.  Criminals are waiting for you to leave the leash behind, with the dog attached.  If you wouldn’t leave a baby alone outside, apply the same principle to your  pets. The bottom line: Don’t do it.

3. Cruise dog parks and dog-friendly beaches

Look around the next time you let your dog roam off leash to his heart’s  content. In my many years of covering dog travel, I have discovered that dogs  are stolen from dog-welcoming properties such as dog parks and beaches. Chatting  with friends while your eye roams away from your dog is exactly what criminals  want. The bottom line: Let your dog have fun, but know where he or she is at all  times.

4. Skip the microchip and ID tags

If your stolen, lost, or missing dog happens to luck out and end up at a  shelter, the chances of a reunion with you increase dramatically if that dog is  microchipped. Though collars can be taken off by thieves, identification tags  that remain intact, especially something like a PetHub tag using QR code, increase the chances of reunion.  If you move or change phone numbers, update the microchip contact info. The  bottom line: Keep identification current and get a microchip.

5. Leave dogs home alone without supervision

Please don’t jump on me for this one because I know a large majority of dog  moms and dads reading this work outside the home. A pet sitter, doggie daycare,  or a security system are all viable options to prevent pet theft. Thieves case  homes where pets are left alone, and sadly, homes are cased to wait for the  right moment that dogs are home alone. The bottom line: If you must leave your  dog alone for any significant period of time, ask a neighbor to watch your house  and return the favor with a neighborhood watch. I also never leave my dog alone  in a hotel room when I travel.

6. Let your dog live outside

This hotly contested topic went round and round when I wrote about not allowing a dog to live outside. Reason #864 to never let  a dog live outside as his or her primary “residence?” Theft. Recently a dog in  Cedar Falls, IA, was stolen from his heated dog kennel right near his owner’s  home. reports that thieves in this situation are leaving  notes for the owners letting them know the dog is “safe.” Bottom line: Never let  your dog outside without your watchful eye.

7. Don’t use locks, fences, or alarms

This is a thief’s best friend: The property that is poorly lit, without a  secure lock on a gate, and out of view of passersby. “It happened in broad  daylight” is something that has become all too common as it relates to pet  theft. Use an alarm or bell, and if possible, a security light, so you can hear  and see anyone who comes on your property. The bottom line: Good fences make  good neighbors. They also keep criminals away, and coupled with pet parent  supervision, they keep dogs safe and secure.

8. Be unaware

I tell my pet friends and contacts this all the time: Know your surroundings.  I remember watching an episode of Oprah years ago and learning about  the book, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. Considered one of  the nation’s leading experts on violent behavior, de Becker shares how to spot  subtle signs of danger — before it’s too late. Do not walk late at night by  yourself, have a cell phone handy, and be aware of your surroundings. The bottom  line: Know before you go.

As of press time, the Malchows had their dog returned, but this case is very  unusual, and they are very fortunate.

Have you ever known someone who had their dog stolen? Got any tips to keep  dogs safe from danger? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s stay safe  out there.

By Carol Bryant, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

Photo: Dog  tied up on street by Shutterstock

Comments on: "8 Ways You May be Making it Easy for Your Dog to be Stolen and 8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe!" (5)

  1. Good info. How safe are the chips?

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