Lost dogs are more than the plot for a Disney movie. Did you know the American Kennel Club has been tracking an increase of pet thefts for two years now? With dog theft becoming a growing trend, it's more important than ever for dog owners to know how to find a lost dog. The silver lining: with the right identification, dogs can make their way back home.
Take Jake as an example. In 2003, the day after Thanksgiving, 9-month-old Weimaraner Jake disappeared from his family's backyard. All that was left was his dog collar, proving that it was theft, not simply a dog with an itchy traveling foot. "He had been a Houdini-like dog in the past," said his owner Amy Davis, "but there was no way he would have been able to get the collar off by himself." Even though they offered rewards, the family never heard anything about their dog. Eventually, they gave up hope of ever finding Jake again.
AKC Companion Animal Recovery reunites stolen dog Jake with owner after nearly seven years (PRNewsFoto/AKC Companion Animal Recovery)
Fast forward 7 years. The Davis family got a phone call from a shelter in Ravenna, Kentucky saying they had found Jake - 420 miles from their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. How was the shelter able to track down Jake's family? He had a microchip that was registered with the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program. When Jake was found running loose in the street and turned into the shelter, the shelter found his microchip and was able to look up the family's current contact information. Armed with that information, they were able to reunite him with his happy family.
The AKC CAR program offers these tips on how to keep your big dog from being a victim of dog theft and how to find a lost dog:
Get your dog microchipped with a service that does not charge for updating your contact information (such as AKC CAR). Tags on a collar are not enough, as Jake's story proves.
Don't leave your dog unattended or off-leash. This includes leaving your dog in your car, tied up outside a store or in your yard for extensive periods. It may attract notice of dog thieves.
Notify police, animal control and neighborhood groups immediately if you think your dog was stolen. Have your dog's description and microchip number listed in the "stolen article" section of the National Crime Information Center. Contact local media to see if they have an online bulletin board for community notices, such as lost dogs.
Keep recent photos handy in case your dog disappears and you need to make flyers.
Don't buy dogs from illegitimate sources. The adorable dog being hawked by the streetside van or classified ad (online or offline) may have been stolen. Always go to a reputable breeder, shelter or rescue group to look for a new family member.
Luckily, Jake's story shows that there are things you can do to protect your dog and happy endings are possible. Kudos to Jake's family for making sure he could find his way back home.
If you liked this then check out:
How Does A Dog Microchip Work?
Dog Training Not Working? Try Hand Signals
Your Dog Will Love This Dog Toy. It Smells Like Bacon
Photo by PR Newswire.