Just over a year ago, dotsure.co.za reported that dog theft is on the rise in South Africa. The financial strain that national lockdown has put us all under in the last few months may encourage more criminal attempts to make money off stolen dogs.
In this article, we suggest ten tips to help prevent dog theft and emphasise why micro-chipping is a good idea.
1. Sterilise your dog
This not only reduces the chances of unwanted births, but a non-fertile dog discourages dog thieves who are considering breeding them for fighting or for selling. This is especially true for pure-breed pets.
2. Heard but not seen
If you can ensure your dog can’t be seen by passers-by this may help limit the risks of your dog being stolen. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is a good rule of thumb.
3. Secure your property
The harder it is to gain access to your property, the less likely a thief is to try. This means ensuring your property is “fully fenced and gated”, IOL suggests. You can also consider installing security cameras or a motion sensor. Both could be linked to an armed response service.
4. Sleepy-time inside
Most dog thefts take place at night, IOL reports. Keep your dogs inside with you, and thieves can’t snatch them away, even if they manage to get over the fence and past the camera, sensors and alarm.
5. No doggie treats from strangers
Train your dog to take food only from humans she knows and trusts. This reduces the chances of a total stranger with ill intent luring her away with a meaty treat.
6. Use a visible ID
Criminals prefer easy targets and know that a dog that is visibly sporting collar and tag with your contact details on is likely known and loved by a whole community of people and other dogs. A thief might think twice about trying to take such a dog, because it may attract unwanted attention if she’s suddenly seen with a stranger. What’s more, if your details are clearly showing on your dog, somebody who suspects the dog is stolen can contact you, perhaps even without alerting the thief.
7. Use professional holiday help.
If you’re going away for work or play, employ a trusted and vetted individual to pet sit in your own home. If this is not possible, use only a reputable and respected kennel for safety’s sake.
8. Always go walkies on a leash.
It’s smart to keep your dog on a leash even in areas where this is not required. This way, your dog can’t disappear around the corner straight into the arms of a very charming but speedy thief.
9. No parking off alone in the car for your pooch.
Not only is it illegal to leave pets untended in a car (on the Garden Route of the Western Cape), if you leave a sought-after dog alone in an untended car anywhere, your pooch could be nabbed while you’re buying bread.
10. No breed bragging.
Applies to mixed-breed mutts, too. If you share personal info including your dog’s breed, age, beauty, or history with strangers, you’re advertising its eligibility for dogfighting or illicit dog breeding. Avoid the chances that a thief may be enticed to snatch your beloved canine by sealing your lips.
Wait, why microchipping?
Microchips are tiny computer chips inserted invisibly under the skin. They contain important details about your dog including your contact details. Microchipping your dog won’t prevent the theft but if your dog is stolen or gets lost, it is useful for tracking and tracing. That’s because the thief (or ‘new owner’) may attempt to take your four-legged friend to the vet, who should scan for it to determine ownership.