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Thefts Of Dogs In The United States Up 32% In 2011


Just past dawn, a gray SUV pulled into Hailey Shelton’s driveway in Durham, North Carolina and made off with her two dogs, Chloe and Dixie. Nobody heard a bark on that June morning. Nobody found an open gate.

The only explanation came from a neighbor who witnessed the early morning dognappers from across the street.

“They just straight-up took two puppies,” said Shelton, 19.

Animal advocates are reporting a sharp rise in dog thefts — murky and hard-to-track crimes that often are not reported.

The American Kennel Club tracks thefts through a national database and its figures show at least a 32 percent uptick so far in 2011. The group bases its numbers on media reports of stolen dogs and customers who call its Companion Animal Recovery service.

The AKC database showed 224 animals were stolen during the first seven months of this year compared with 150 during the same period last year and 255 in all of 2010. In 2009, 162 thefts were reported to the AKC, said Lisa Peterson, spokeswoman for the New York-based group.

“Some are taken out of homes, some are taken out of cars, some are taken out of pet stores,” Peterson said. “I’ve even seen some taken out of a child’s arms on a park bench.”

The motive for stealing a dog is always money — whether dogs are resold, sold to laboratories or used in fights.

Peterson said dog thieves are misguided and naive. Animals can’t be pawned. High-priced dogs require registration papers. Collecting heavy ransoms is unrealistic.

Shelton’s dogs were Pit Bulls and it is this breed along with other large breeds, that tend to be stolen most often.

Still, some call these numbers exaggerations.

The California Biomedical Research Association, for example, describes the idea as “The Pet Theft Myth.”

The myth says shadowy figures are luring animals into vans and selling them to research labs, but in actuality most dogs and cats used in research are specifically bred for that purpose, the group says.

Story by Elaine Furst for Dog Files

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11 years ago

I live in Durham, NC! I hadn’t even heard about this. :o(

11 years ago

Being the owner of 2 large breed rescues, (a great Dane and a St. Bernard) this is my biggest fear. My boys are sweet too. I’m constantly vigilant because I worry about them being stolen for bait dogs.

11 years ago

i saw on tv on the weekend about dogs being stolen out of a pet store, while the clerk’s attention was deverted a dog was just walked out in the second guy’s arms

11 years ago

I’d like to see someone try to steal my dogs. They may leave with a few less fingers.


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