AKC reports an increase in dognappings

Whether it is a testament to these poor economic times or just an increase in the number of incidents reported to the police, the idea is nevertheless terrifying to those of us who own and love dogs.

Dog theft in 2011 is up 70 percent over 2010. (photo credit: probablynotagoodsign.com)

The American Kennel Club is reporting that trends indicate an alarming increase in the number of dognapping and dog theft incidents nationwide.

According to dognapping tracker and AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson, more than 400 episodes of dognapping were reported in the year 2011, up nearly 70 percent from 2010. The AKC began tracking these numbers in 2007; that year, only 10 dognappings were reported.

The most-stolen dog of 2011 was the Yorkshire Terrier, followed closely by the Pomeranian, Maltese, and Boston Terrier. Small breeds are popular with thieves because of their size, which makes the theft easier to conceal, but also because of their market value; Yorkshire Terriers can sell for upwards of $1500 – sometimes much more. Purebreds aren’t the only dogs at risk, however; many mixed-breed dogs are reported stolen, too.

Peterson also notes that many Pit Bull Terriers and Pit Bull mixes are coming up stolen. Just last week, a South Carolina shelter reported that an arrest had been made after a series of Pit Bull thefts. Similar incidents have been reported across the country, a chilling and heartbreaking trend when considering the breed’s popularity in the cruel and illegal blood sport of dog fighting.

Dogs have been stolen from homes, yards, cars, pet stores, and even animal shelters to be kept as pets or sold to the highest bidder. In one particularly disturbing case out of North Carolina, thieves posed as animal control officers while they attempted to steal dogs from a residential area.

How can you protect your dog from this tragic crime? Microchip your pet and register him or her to your current information. Also, keep your pet supervised and secure at all times. For more information on how you can prevent dognapping, check out these tips posted on DogTime’s Blog Park.