Losing your best friend is hard, but knowing you could have done something to prevent it makes the news even harder to bare. The American Kennel Club reports our canine companions are being stolen from our yards, sidewalks, cars and even local shelters at a staggering rate.

“It only takes a minute for a theft to occur,” American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson told CBS 2?s Dave Carlin.

A surveillance video recently released showed “Marley” the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being snatched up and leaving 7-year-old Mia Bendrat without her best friend right before Christmas.

“You knew that was somebody’s dog and it was Christmas Eve. I mean really?” Bendrat exclaimed to CBS 2.

Bought by a woman in Greenwich Village, she was unsure of her new dogs history.

Having Marley’s microchip being detected was the saving grace as it allowed Marley to be returned to the loving arms of his Mia. This story had a happy ending, but unfortunately there has been an increase in dognapping nationwide, almost 70 percent according to the American Kennel Club.

“Last year for example we tracked more than 432 pet thefts and that’s just scratching the surface,” Peterson said. “For the first time ever we’ve seen a trend now where shelters are being broken into and purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen.”

The good news is most of these dognapping situations are preventable, given the right amount of attention and prevention.

“Don’t leave it unattended,” Peterson said.

With products like microchipping your pet can carry your information with them, if your pet becomes lost of stolen, it’s a sure fire way to make sure your pet has the best chance of being reunited with you and your family.

“Because that’s the only way you can prove ownership and get your dog back should it turn up at a vets office or shelter,” Peterson said to CBS 2.

The American Kennel Club tracked 432 pet thefts in 2011, compared to 255 thefts in 2010, proving the horrible fact that this heart wrenching crime is on the rise. Experts advise if you need to go out and it is not necessary for your pet to be with you, leave them at home. Where they will be safe, sound and more likely to greet you at the door.

Written by Renee Rhoades-Harrison