Kids, Dogs, What’s the Difference? Let’s Bow(wow) to Kidnapping Paranoia!

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Considering fear has been the great motivator behind the marketplace push to get us to GPS our kids, put them into supervised activities, drive them everywhere, and spend every last dollar on them, lest they get hurt or fall behind in some way, it is no surprise that the pet-industrial complex has taken note. Hence, this press release I got. I guess I should have sent it yesterday because now it may be TOO LATE:

Valentine’s kdezsbsdbn
Day is also PET THEFT AWARENESS DAY:
 [LS: I hope you celebrated!] Here’s how to protect your pet, and your heart, from theft

Imagine how your heart would break if your pet were to go missing — you’d call the neighbors, you’d post “Missing Pet” signs, and when your fur baby doesn’t show up, you’d start to fear the worst has happened.

Sadly, pet theft is an ever-increasing problem in the U.S.  Current estimates reveal that 1-in-3 pets will go missing in its lifetime. According to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 65% of U.S. households now own a pet. That’s a 56% increase in household pets across America since 1988.

Each year on February 14th (Valentine’s Day), the international nonprofit Last Chance for Animals (“LCA”) recognizes Pet Theft Awareness Day (PTAD) by educating the public about the dangers of pet theft.

LCA’s founder, Chris DeRose, is available to discuss the pet theft epidemic and some basic rules to follow to keep your pet safe, such as:

•    A good collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft. However, since a collar can break or be pulled off, pets should have permanent identification such as microchipping and tattooing to ensure their safety.

•    NEVER allow your pet to be visible from the street.

•    NEVER leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is “just for a minute.”

The piece goes on and on, and really — if you substitute “child” for “pet” you see the double helix of  paranoia. Some of the ideas here were taken (kidnapped?) directly from the kid safety complex. And some will give that complex new ideas. But the basic point is this: Children and pets are always being watched by someone who can’t wait to snatch them. Your job is to be on constant alert, lest you spend the rest of your days putting up, “Lost!” posters.

I especially love the idea that your pet should never be visible from the street. It’s like those Facebook warnings that you should peel the family sticker off the back of your car. Because once a predator (pet-ator?) DIVINES that there is a cute thing living somewhere, all bets are off.

And all pets are off, too.  – L

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Thanks a lot, owners. You allowed me to be VISIBLE from the STREET.

Thanks a lot, owners. You allowed me to be VISIBLE from the STREET.

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74 Responses to Kids, Dogs, What’s the Difference? Let’s Bow(wow) to Kidnapping Paranoia!

  1. Beth February 15, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    1 in 3 pets will “go missing” – seriously? 1 in 3? I wonder how they define “go missing”. Does it apply to a dog who slips out the front door, has an adventure running around the neighborhood, and is brought home by a neighbor who *didn’t* call the police?*

    *but says “You’re lucky I found him instead of a kid..er…petnapper”?

  2. kate February 15, 2016 at 7:27 am #

    My dog “went missing” four times during the first year we had her. Once returned by neighbor around 14 years old who had seen us walking the dog and took it upon herself to find us. Twice found by Animal Patrol. Her biggest concern was that dogs get run over by cars. As with children, cars are a much bigger risk than petknappers. I am pretty sure every dog I know has been missing at least once in their lifetime. None have been stolen.

  3. BL February 15, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    ” NEVER allow your pet to be visible from the street.”

    Or your child. Or yourself.

    Let’s all hide from each other.

  4. Havva February 15, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    ”  A good collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft. ”
    …Do these petknapers lack opposable thumbs? Or are they magical compelled by the tag to return the animal?
    Several neighbors dogs ‘went missing’ while I was growing up. I know this not from missing posters, but because I caught a lot of runaway dogs in my youth. The dogs seemed to favor the parks and since the parks were full of (unattended) kids, we kids saw to it that the dogs were returned home. Once, a hamster even showed up at my house!

  5. K February 15, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Sorry Lenore, but you’re overreacting to this one. I’m a veterinary technician in a small city practice. My city has a problem with dog fighting. Pet theft is real and it’s a problem. One of my daughter’s classmates had her puppy stolen from their back yard. Luckily, her mom was able to track her down. A drug addict had her and was in the process of selling her to a bunch of teens. Presumably to be used as a bait dog.

    This article is incorrect in that tags and microchips can help prevent pet theft. Tags and microchips help LOST pets get back home. People who steal dogs don’t give a crap about various forms of ID.

  6. Warren February 15, 2016 at 9:06 am #

    1 in 3 pets. Let’s look at this.

    1. Most importantly the survey was completed by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Absolutely no motive for gearing the survey to gain the results they want.

    2. Missing does not equal stolen. How many times have your car keys been missing in the last 5 years? How many times have you considered those same car keys stolen?

    3. Pets, not just dogs, not just cats but pets. How many people when surveyed about their gerbil, bird, hamster, rat, snake, spider or whatever would say the thing has been missing? Depending on the wording of the question, probably most of them that couldn’t find them for an hour after cleaning their cage or tank.

    4. Not seen from the street? The kids around here would be terribly upset if our dogs were never seen anymore. They are friends to all the kids, and all the kids make a effort to visit the hooligans.

    Data supplied by the manufacturers and sellers of products should never be trusted or taken at face value.

  7. Warren February 15, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    K,
    No it is not an over reaction. The numbers posted by this article of 1 in 3 pets go missing is BS and you know it. Because if 33% of your clients pets went missing, you would be out of business.

    Okay, substitute back and forth all you want with kid and pet. More of the missing kids/pets/kids/pets are runaways than taken.

    Even that so called stolen puppy story. I bet the puppy got out, was found, and then just taken advantage of by the junkie for a fix. And you have no proof, other than paranoia about it being a bait dog.

  8. K February 15, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    One in three does sound like a manufactured number. But in the case of the puppy, there was a witness to the theft and a lock on the gate that had been cut. It happens often enough that many of our clients have recovered their dogs from abandoned row homes where they had been stashed (super common in dog fighting, makes it difficult for the authorities to tie dogs to a person or operation) that we have a protocol in place for treating them when they come in. If you’ve never seen the results of dog fighting up close, I hope you never do. It’s ugly.

    I also disagree with the part about not letting pets be seen from the street. Presence of a dog is a proven deterrent to home burglary.

  9. Crystal Kupper February 15, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    Seriously, not a single reference to Ace Ventura?!?

  10. lollipoplover February 15, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    Our most recent foster-fail dog was returned to shelters 4 times because he frequently went *missing*. He loves to run away! I think he has a form of doggie autism that makes him a frequent flyer, or OCD squirrel and he cannot control his compulsions. He runs away mostly in warm weather months (doesn’t like the cold) and always returns by dinner time. The only one who can catch him is my son because this dog runs like a cheetah. Our biggest fear is cars. Dogs being hit by a car, like young children, is the BIGGEST risk to their lives, not pet-adors.

    If you really want to save dog lives, instead of instilling paranoia about Pet Theft Awareness Day (PTAD) on Valentine’s Day, spread awareness of chocolate toxicity to dogs as they are more likely to ingest gifted Valentine’s chocolates that have been unsecured than be snatched by pet-adors.
    OR get some of the many, many unwanted and discarded dogs adopted out of high kill shelters that still exist in our country. Millions of dogs are KILLED every year because shelters are over capacity. Compare those KILL numbers of dogs to pet kidnappings and focus on saving lives and promoting pet adoption, not this preoccupation with rare (yet sad) pet-adors.

    There IS an epidemic of irresponsible pet owners dumping dogs in shelters when they are no longer wanted. 1 in 2 dogs that enters a shelter will not make it out alive. THAT is the saddest statistic that no one talks about.

  11. Coasterfreak February 15, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    Wow, we got five whole comments in on this one before someone posted the obligatory “you’re overreacting” comment.

    Aside from just saying I think this fear mongering over pet thefts is ridiculous and the 1 in 3 number is grossly exaggerated at best, can I just say that (no offense to anybody who uses it, but…) I can’t stand the term “fur babies.” Makes me want to barf (and I love my cats and dogs).

  12. Tom February 15, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    “Don’t let your pet be visible from the street”. Isn’t that why some people get a dog? To scare away a potential burglar?

  13. TRS February 15, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Exactly what I was thinking. I had a dog that saved me from a potential abduction while running on a trail. I love my pets but they keep ME safe.

  14. pentamom February 15, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    I’m still boggling at the included image. Who in their right mind puts up a stylized picture like that of a pet they’re trying to actually find? Wouldn’t it be more helpful to put up a more realistic picture that actually looks like a dog instead of an artistic impression of a dog?

    Of course, “people who live in Brentwood” might be a sufficient answer.

    To K: Lenore is not overreacting because she is not reacting to the idea that people should be aware that pets can be stolen. She’s reacting to the over the top rhetoric, ridiculous advice, and dubious statistics of the article she’s referencing.

    And yeah, the 1 in 3 pets will go missing has to refer to animals that slip out and have to be hunted down or found and returned. Like my cat that was just adjusting to being an outside cat and got scared out of the neighborhood by one of the resident cats, and was found two days later, 2 blocks away, hiding under a car.

  15. Wren February 15, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    My dog “goes missing” a few times a year. She’s sneaky. She digs under the fence. She climbs the fence. Right now we have a leash on her within the fence. Its the only way to keep her in. Thankfully, with the kindness of many strangers, we’ve gotten her back every time. But if I couldn’t let her sit a car on a spring day while I go shopping, the dog would be pretty mad. Its the highlight of her weekend.

  16. ifsogirl February 15, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Growing up we had a dig that went missing several times. No matter how often we bailed him out of doggy jail, he would dig his way out and get out, sometimes getting caught by the dog catcher.

  17. Dee February 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Pet theft does happen, but I agree that to immediately think of it is an over-reaction. My childhood dog went missing at age 11 and my uncle remains convinced to this day that he was stolen for scientific experiments. The sad reality is that it was probably his time and he went off to die.

    We do have dogs getting stolen for pet fighting in our area. And LOTS of dogs get lost. Based on the daily comments about lost and found dogs in our neighborhood social media, the 1 in 3 is probably not too far off. But to immediately think of pet-napping? No.

  18. elizabeth February 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    My family has four pets, two dogs and two cats. By the one in three logic, we shouldve already had a pet kidnapped, especially since our cats love the outdoors.

  19. Anna February 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    “Imagine how your heart would break if your pet were to go missing. . .”

    Um, call me hard-hearted, but no, losing my dog would not break my heart. I like having her around and I’m sure when she dies I’ll miss having her around, and of course if she were lost I’d be worried about where she was and make reasonable efforts to find her, but no heartbreak would ensue.

    Bottom line, she’s a pet, not a person.

  20. Papilio February 15, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    I think my parents would *love* for someone to steal their cat… The thief would probably return the meowing little monster within the hour though 🙂

    @Crystal: Hey, it’s the Monday (!) after Valentine’s Day (!!) – maybe she needs more coffee… 😛

  21. Reziac February 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    Considering that the majority of pet thefts are perpetrated by “rescue” groups who then transport the pet far away and sell it for profit… yeah. Pot, kettle, hello??

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/heavy_petting/2005/02/rescuing_fly.html

  22. Brighton, NY February 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Hilarious! Why don’t they just adopt a shelter dog? Cat? Save the lives of some sweet animals.

    Are we sure of the truth of these stats?

    Or are they as phony as the ones about kids disappearing?

  23. Diana February 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    Hilarious! Why don’t they just adopt a shelter dog? Cat? Save the lives of some sweet animals.

    Are we sure of the truth of these stats?

    Or are they as phony as the ones about kids disappearing?

    A friend of mine celebrated Valentine’s Day by adopting a dog, yesterday.

    I suppose some bad things happen to good pets. I would trust police statistics, not these.

  24. Trey February 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    Hee!

    I think it may depend on the dog and training though. Poison proofing them was a pain in the butt, but I still think it was worth it.

    As to the individual dogs…

    I’d have loved to see someone try to kidnap the mighty Chit-Chat (93 lbs, bouvier des flandres and did knock people and dogs to the grounds that approached family members too fast).

    Or Peter & Irene (2 mutts, 80 and 68 lbs respectively that specialized in team tactics (and to one intruder’s regret, Irene could climb and jump – never did figure out who, but Irene was proud when I tracked her down)).

    Or Bonnie (another bouvier that was noted for prey drive and taking no crap off anyone outside of the family (made vet visits interesting though)).

  25. Donna February 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    The idea that large numbers of dogs are being stolen from backyards for dog fighting rings is ridiculous. The idea that crackheads are stealing dogs to sell to dog fighting rings is even more ridiculous. If these dog fighting rings are paying for dogs, why exactly would they buy dogs from crackheads when dogs for free or a small rehoming fee are available constantly on craigslist? Or get them from the pound for a few bucks?

  26. Jane February 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Sorry, but pet theft is real. A few years ago a news segment reported a spike in dog stealing by gangs of thieves called “bunchers” who were actually seen by unsuspecting neighbors (until after the fact) going into yards and taking dogs which were then sold to research labs.

    If you want to protect your dog get it spayed/neutered so it has no desire to go out looking for booty calls and get it micro-chipped. Here in NC all shelters are required by law to scan all incoming pets. Once one of my dogs bolted when the door blew open and a few hours later an Animal Control officer brought him home.

  27. Roger the Shrubber February 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    Jane – A few years ago the local news ran a story of the ‘epidemic’ of teens harming themselves in the ‘Ice Salt Challenge’: http://q13fox.com/2014/09/14/parents-warn-about-the-dangers-of-salt-and-ice-challenge/

    It, too, was bullshit.

  28. Donna February 15, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    “A few years ago a news segment reported a spike in dog stealing by gangs of thieves called “bunchers” who were actually seen by unsuspecting neighbors (until after the fact) going into yards and taking dogs which were then sold to research labs.”

    And how many “news segments” have their been about the dangers of kidnapping or pedophiles around every corner or online predators or human trafficking and … shall I go on with listing all the overblown fears that are addressed daily on this blog, any one of which has had many “news segments” about them?

    Yes, I am sure that pet theft occurs. It does not occur in such high amount that we need to operate in fear of it.

  29. Donna February 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    That should read “have THERE been”

    It is definitely Monday.

  30. olympia February 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    I do see a lot of similarities between the helicopter parent brigade and pet rescue operations that seem to want nothing more but to euthanize an animal rather than let it be under 24/7 leash patrol. My brother and his partner recently tried to rescue a pup through the ASPCA. They were universally denied, though, once they made it known that there is no fenced yard on their property and, after a learning period, they intended to let their beast roam free on their 40 acres. From what I’ve seen, dogs do wonderfully in such an environment- animals who are allowed to run themselves ragged are vastly less neurotic than those who are kept penned up. And if my parents dogs are any example, they will live forever, too. But, no, no, ASPCA lady told my brother she feared for the “porcupines and beavers” who might menace their dog in the woods.

  31. K February 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    Donna February 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm #
    The idea that large numbers of dogs are being stolen from backyards for dog fighting rings is ridiculous. The idea that crackheads are stealing dogs to sell to dog fighting rings is even more ridiculous. If these dog fighting rings are paying for dogs, why exactly would they buy dogs from crackheads when dogs for free or a small rehoming fee are available constantly on craigslist? Or get them from the pound for a few bucks?

    The crackhead was trying to sell the dog to teenagers, who would then pass the dog along to fighting rings. We’re not talking a lot of money here.

    Seriously, this is what I do. I’ve been in the industry for 19 years. We see the results of pitbull fighting all the time. The stats in this ad are trumped up, and maybe pet theft doesn’t happen in happy places across the country, but it happens all the time where I live.

  32. Rachel February 15, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    I think people are more likely to steal a dog than a child. When I visit L.A. there are always missing Toy Breed fliers where my uncle lives. My own Collie was taken from our side yard last winter. We don’t have a fenced in yard, (and nor will we!) The police tracked him down, and the most they could get out of the young woman was that she saw him, and no tags, so she took him because it was cold and icy out. I cried the whole night. It has changed how we let him out. My husband or I keep a close eye on him. On the other hand; my three year old plays on our swing set by herself all year long until the snow and ice are too much. This spring her little brother will join them. I keep an eye from the kitchen, but I don’t have nearly the worry. I see the comparison, but there really are “reward” scams out there, and you’re less likely to be arrested when caught for dog snatching (ask the woman who lives ONE block away!) than for child snatching, so the one really MAY be more prevalent.

  33. Warren February 15, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

    K,
    You are no different than those emergency room workers that scream about the epidemic of playground injuries or whatever. You are jaded by your job.

  34. Warren February 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    In my lifetime, 8 dogs, 5 cats, 2 horses, 1 rabbit, 2 gerbils, god knows how many goldfish and a turtle. Not one gone missing and not one stolen. Now add in all the dogs and cats of family members and friends, we are probably into the hundreds if not more pets.. None ever stolen.

    By these stats, I should have lost at least 2 dogs, 1 cat and 2 of the rest.

  35. James Pollock February 15, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    “The idea that crackheads are stealing dogs to sell to dog fighting rings is even more ridiculous. If these dog fighting rings are paying for dogs, why exactly would they buy dogs from crackheads when dogs for free or a small rehoming fee are available constantly on craigslist? Or get them from the pound for a few bucks?”

    crackheads are not known for their careful planning and deep analysis.

    But crackheads aren’t going to get dogs “for a small rehoming fee” on Craigslist or get them from the pound for “a few bucks” because if a crackhead has “a few bucks”, they’re going to buy crack with it. It’s kind of what they do. Now, finding themselves WITHOUT “a few bucks”, they start to look for something they can take, that can be turned INTO “a few bucks”. If (and that’s a big “if”) they can get a few bucks by snatching a dog, the crackheads’re going to do it. If you live in a place that has any combination of crackheads and dog-fighting rings willing to pay for bait animals, your pet’s at risk. If you don’t, the normal leading predator of dogs still applies if you let your animal roam… that predator is the automobile.

    Cats are a different story. There are people who will harm cats because either A) the cat hunts songbirds, or B) the cat digs in the flowerboxes.

  36. AmyO February 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    I like how the three statistics given in the article have nothing at all to do with pet theft.

  37. sexhysteria February 16, 2016 at 3:08 am #

    There are pet-nappers hiding behind every mailbox, and think of the horrible sex abuse missing pets could suffer at the hands of all the perverts in the community!

  38. Helen February 16, 2016 at 3:36 am #

    Granted that the article is blown all out of proportion, but the difference between kids and (some) pets is that pets do have monetary value. When my Golden Retriever was a puppy, I didn’t take him along on local shopping trips and tie him to a post outside while I ran in for a couple of minutes, but I did do that when he was older and therefore of less monetary value to a potential thief. It’s not that I valued my dog any less as he got older, but I just recognized that he wasn’t of much interest to a thief anymore. I loved that dog every bit as much when he was old as when he was young, but a thief would feel no more inclined to steal my old “worthless” dog as he would feel inclined to steal my “worthless” child. They are both the world to me, but I’m not crazy enough to believe that anyone else wants either of ’em – at least not once pup can’t be sold on craigslist for good money.

  39. Reader February 16, 2016 at 4:14 am #

    I’d say attacks on pets are a lot more common than attacks on people/children, especially on pets in hutches (like rabbits, guinea pigs, or birds in aviaries) – we had to move our guinea pig hutch from the downstairs to the upstairs verandah after some drunk and/or high people DECAPITATED a family’s pet rabbits in our neighbourhood! Frankly it is something I am a lot more worried about than unattended children, since kids can pretty easily find their way home, whereas pets can’t.

  40. Jen February 16, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    Just saw a new segment (yes, news) about pet weddings. Is that a thing now too? Overall, I think pets in clothes are unnecessary (and unnecessarily humiliating to the pet) unless there is a determined preschooler hosting a formal tea party or to actually make your pet more comfortable due to weather conditions. But spending hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars to host a wedding for your dog? Wow! Whatever makes you happy — I can only hope to have that much disposable income some day!

    Hmmm. ..maybe if we start helicoptering our pets. . .the children will be left alone to grow up happy, healthy, self-sufficient and resilient!

  41. Emily February 16, 2016 at 8:34 am #

    >>I do see a lot of similarities between the helicopter parent brigade and pet rescue operations that seem to want nothing more but to euthanize an animal rather than let it be under 24/7 leash patrol. My brother and his partner recently tried to rescue a pup through the ASPCA. They were universally denied, though, once they made it known that there is no fenced yard on their property and, after a learning period, they intended to let their beast roam free on their 40 acres. From what I’ve seen, dogs do wonderfully in such an environment- animals who are allowed to run themselves ragged are vastly less neurotic than those who are kept penned up. And if my parents dogs are any example, they will live forever, too. But, no, no, ASPCA lady told my brother she feared for the “porcupines and beavers” who might menace their dog in the woods.<<

    @Olympia–In that case, I think it might have been smart to get some inexpensive, temporary fencing, and put up a small outdoor play area for the puppy, just for the sake of appearances. It's not like the ASPCA would have the resources to consistently check on every family that ever rescued an animal from them. The ASPCA would be happy that your brother and his partner would be (appearing to) comply with their edict, they'd also be happy to have another space freed up for another animal, the puppy would be happy to have a new "forever home" (with appropriate freedoms when ready), and your brother and his partner would be happy to have a new family member join their home. Would it be possible for them to apply again later, or does the ASPCA write you off forever after you've been denied once?

  42. Donna February 16, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    “Seriously, this is what I do. I’ve been in the industry for 19 years. We see the results of pitbull fighting all the time.”

    What “industry” are you talking about? The pitbull fighting industry? A law enforcement officer who investigates dog fighting and therefore has knowledge of the ins and outs of dog fighting rings?

    “We see the results of pitbull fighting all the time. The stats in this ad are trumped up, and maybe pet theft doesn’t happen in happy places across the country…”

    I don’t think anyone is denying that dog fighting happens. I don’t think anyone is denying that pet theft occasionally happens (just like kidnapping occasionally happens). We are saying that large amounts of dog theft to fuel dog fighting rings is not occurring. We are saying that there is no need to keep your pets locked up to avoid them ending up in a dog fighting ring, anymore than there is a need to keep your children locked up to avoid them being kidnapped for human trafficking.

  43. Workshop February 16, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    I’m willing to send anyone who wants them one or two of my wife’s cats. Good for nothing, except racking up vet bills. No need to steal them, just ask politely.

    Of course, then when the survey comes out, if my wife answers it she’ll say “Yes, my two cats went missing.”

    Eh, it’s worth it.

    Stupid people gonna be stupid.

  44. olympia February 16, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    Emily- My brother offered to put up temporary fencing, but that wasn’t enough; the ASPCA was determined that they not get this puppy. I’ve seen this dynamic with animal rescue groups before, although certainly not all, I’m happy to say. It’s gratifying to see the local Humane Society admit that certain cats would do better with outdoor access. I understand the risks of letting cats out (my own cats are strictly indoor), and the risks aren’t just to the cat. But the relentless drive for endless oversight and leashes and safety at all costs is very helicopter-y. And the idea that animals would be better off dead than in an imperfect home is insane.

  45. Donna February 16, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    “crackheads are not known for their careful planning and deep analysis.”

    Which is why organizations outside of crack dealing tend not to rely on them as integral parts of their business model. That and the fact that a crackhead will be arrested at some point and is very likely to try to sell out his own mama to get out of jail.

    “But crackheads aren’t going to get dogs “for a small rehoming fee” on Craigslist or get them from the pound for “a few bucks”…”

    Which is why I never implied that they did.

    “If you live in a place that has any combination of crackheads and dog-fighting rings willing to pay for bait animals, your pet’s at risk.”

    Your pet is at risk for many things. Just like my child is at risk of being kidnapped by human traffickers while walking to my office this afternoon and I am at risk that a car in my office parking lot will fail to stop and plow through my window and kill me while I am working at my desk. I am sure that we can all think of a million things that we are “at risk” for, doesn’t mean that they are actually viable, realistic threats to our, or out pet’s, safety. Just that they are random occurrences that have happened at some point somewhere in the past and could happen again.

    I do live and work in an area that has a very large crack (meth, pills) problem and a sizable dog fighting presence (or so I hear), and yet dogs are not being stolen left and right. In fact, it is not a common problem at all.

  46. James Pollock February 16, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    Donna, do you remember being criticized for saying the same thing I did, and claiming I’m wrong in the first place?

    You’re doing it again (or, at least, the first part).

  47. andy February 16, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    People, well cared for and trained pet dogs are unlikely to have much career in fighting ring, since they have been raised to be non-aggressive and are wrong breed anyway. By wrong breed I mean the one that is not aggressive and strong enough. It would likely loose first fight, customers would be unsatisfied by short spectacle and that would be it.

    Stealing family pets for fighting rings does not make much sense, it makes more sense to breed and train puppy. Raising dog is not that expensive if you do not care about conditions the dog lives in all that much.

    People running those rings just don’t want your cute family dogs. They are too cute and friendly anyway.

  48. Warren February 16, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    People claiming their Lab, or Collie or even Rotti was stolen for dog fighting are no different than those parents that insist their child was abducted by human traffickers. By blaming someone else for such horrible actions, they can play the victim, and it is a lot easier than admitting your dog or kid ran away.

  49. James Pollock February 16, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    “People, well cared for and trained pet dogs are unlikely to have much career in fighting ring, since they have been raised to be non-aggressive and are wrong breed anyway”

    Approximately nobody thinks pet dogs are being stolen to be turned into fighting dogs. Fighting dogs have to be trained to kill other dogs. You do that by having them kill other dogs. Those other dogs don’t have to be good at fighting. They just have to be dogs.

  50. pentamom February 16, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    “What “industry” are you talking about? The pitbull fighting industry? A law enforcement officer who investigates dog fighting and therefore has knowledge of the ins and outs of dog fighting rings? ”

    K said up above that s/he is a vet. So Warren’s mention of ER syndrome is apt.

  51. Roger the Shrubber February 16, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    Master James – are you that stupid or do you purposefully misread people so that you have someone to argue with?

  52. lollipoplover February 16, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    “I’m willing to send anyone who wants them one or two of my wife’s cats. Good for nothing, except racking up vet bills. No need to steal them, just ask politely.”

    I’ll barter you for an large incontinent dog who gets skittish with loud noises and has excitement peeing issues.
    Or the special diet dog who has legendary counter cruising skills and can find unsecured food quickly and adeptly and churn it into eyelash curling noxious gas in minutes.
    Or the autistic runaway dog.

    Seriously, no one wants to steal these pets….
    They’ve already been returned at least once, some multiple times. I don’t go around all shifty eyes thinking anyone wants these slobbery, expensive goons.

  53. Beth February 16, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Come on Roger, you should know the answer to that by now.

  54. Roger the Shrubber February 16, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    A: Both

  55. Mark Roulo February 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    They switch terms to make things seem (much) worse than they are:

    “Sadly, pet theft is an ever-increasing problem in the U.S. Current estimates reveal that 1-in-3 pets will go missing in its lifetime.”

    I’ve had several pets “go missing,” but not because they were stolen. They just got lost (and eventually found their way home or we found them cowering under bushes).

    My child has “gone missing” a few times, too. Lost for an hour at the Phoenix Zoo, lost for a while in mid-town Manhatten, lost at a ballpark. But never kidnapped.

    If things are as bad as we are being led to believe, they shouldn’t need to mislead like this.

  56. EricS February 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Just like with any theft/kidnapping. If someone wanted your pet or your kid, they are going to find a way to get them. But in reality, this is far too much work for your average unknown person (stranger). That’s why national statistics have it that most kidnappings of children are committed by a parent or relative. That’s fact.

    In my neighborhood, there have been a number of lost pet postings within the last couple of years. But only 2 reports of someone actually stealing a pet while it was tied up outside, and the human was inside a store. Two. And I assure everyone, there are a lot of dog owners in my neighborhood. There are times when I leave my dog tied to a post, when I randomly decide to go into a store to buy something at the spur of the moment, while I’m walking my dog. Sure there’s always that bit of initial apprehension that something (anything can happen), but quickly dissipates when common sense and reason kick in. My dog is part Lhasa Apso. They are natural watchdogs, meaning they will bark to warn. Which he does very well. He’s also proven to be a pretty good judge of people. Because he’s within ear shot, as well as visual, I worry far less, very quickly. Fear can be over come. We just have to allow ourselves to over come it.

    Just like my own kids, I’ve taught my dog to do the right things he should be doing in certain situations. And I treat my kids like kids, and my dog like a dog. One is a human, the other an animal. As much my dog is part of the family, I make no insinuations of treating him like a human child, and expecting him to react like a human child. That’s just ridiculous. lol

  57. Workshop February 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    lollipoplover, my house is currently canine-free, and I will neither confirm nor deny I sold them to some homeless guy driving a white windowless van named “Jerry.”

    I don’t know what the guy’s name was.

  58. Donna February 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    “Donna, do you remember being criticized for saying the same thing I did, and claiming I’m wrong in the first place?”

    No. I remember you consistently claiming that I am saying the same thing as you, when it is abundantly clear that I am not. But I don’t remember a single time that I’ve actually been saying the same thing as you and still claiming that you are wrong.

  59. Donna February 16, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    “K said up above that s/he is a vet. So Warren’s mention of ER syndrome is apt.”

    I could see where a vet would see dogs that have been beat up in dog fighting. I don’t see how vet gets us to the knowledge that dogs are regularly being stolen out of backyards by drug addicts, and sold to teenagers who then give/sell them to dog fighting rings.

  60. Papilio February 16, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    I am genuinely surprised that so many people still seem to read James’ comments, even replying to them! Why bother?

    @Workshop: I saw that coming 🙂

  61. lollipoplover February 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    @Workshop-

    Perhaps he was lured by the ice cream man taunting him with bacon strips and squeaky toys.
    This gang of bandits targets your pet by playing silent dog whistles alternating with fire engine sirens to draw out the howlers.
    No dog is safe.

  62. BMS February 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    My snake went missing for a day. I found him in the bathroom. Clearly, he was petnapped and then returned when they realized he wasn’t a valuable rare terrier.

  63. Ben Carter February 17, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    “Sadly, pet theft is an ever-increasing problem in the U.S.  Current estimates reveal that 1-in-3 pets will go missing in its lifetime.”

    Great, but missing pets are not all stolen. If they use statistics, they should stick to relevant numbers and not try to make it look like 1 in 3 pets is stolen.

  64. Warren February 17, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Just got our three hooligans their township tags for 2016, last night. The municipal by-law enforcement officer couldn’t answer my question. “Tags were originally implemented so that dogs could be identified as being owned and not a stray that needed to be picked up. Now the laws have changed, and dogs not with their owner on a leash, basically out and about on their own are picked up for violating the leash law. So if all dogs are picked up, stray or not, then why do we have to pay for a township tag? It does absolutely nothing but put money in the town budget. It is a tax now, and nothing more.”

    Like I said he couldn’t answer me.

  65. pentamom February 17, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    Warren — do you need proof of shots to get the tag? And are all untagged dogs picked up even if the owner is present? That would be a reason to require the tag.

  66. Warren February 17, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    pentamom,

    We are given tags by the vet as proof of shots. The tags from the vets change color each year and are stamped with the year of vaccination. Thus eliminating the need to pay an additional fee to the township for their tag, as proof of shots. Secondly if the owner is present, the dog is on the leash and the dog is picked up for not having tags, that is just proof that it is a tax and nothing more.

    Dog tags are just a yearly tax on dog owners. Nothing more, nothing less.

  67. Havva February 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    Warren, do the tags have registration info/address, phone number, something like that to make it easier to return the dog to the owner if it escapes?

  68. Roger the Shrubber February 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Havva – you don’t need a government agency to make tags like that. Any of the chain petstores have automated machines that can make such tags.

    Warren is correct. Dog licencing, like all government licensing, is a disguised tax.

  69. Warren February 17, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    Havva,

    Like Roger stated. I can get a tag made at PetSmart with all that info on it, for less than one years dog tag fee by the town. Oh and only have to do it once, not every year.

    As for the town’s tags, they have a number, that matches my registration slip. So unless they find a runaway during business hours, they have no way of finding the owner. So your runaway would be impounded for the night, and you would be called the next day. Impound fee for a dog, $75.00 per night.

  70. Jen February 18, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    @ Warren
    I tend to agree with your statement. Our vets also issue rabies tags. Dog owners must register their dogs by April each year in our state. A few years ago, an officer stopped by the house to check on a dog whose license had lapsed. Personally, I thought it sort of cruel — if someone had been registering a dog every year for a decade and then didn’t, it isn’t hard to figure out why the dog might not be registered and it is not because we didn’t want to pay the $8 registration fee.
    Further evidence that this is a tax is that I don’t often see the leash law enforced – unless the offending dog is a chronic nuisance — which I think falls under a different law than the one requiring it to be on a leash.

  71. Warren February 18, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Jen,

    $8? Try $15 per dog advanced payment, $25 after that.

    Our leash laws are enforced and can be over the top. Years ago we adopted a German Shep. and were living in town, with no real yard. Basically making the dog either live in house or on a leash all the time. So when I worked late I would take her to the park. I mean late, like 2 to 3 am. We would play fetch and horse around, off leash. I had a by law enforcement cop give me hell about do it. We were the only ones in the park. $85 ticket, which luckily the town saw my logic and tossed out. Also pays to have connections on the council.

  72. Jen February 18, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Wow–I’d be questioning law enforcements priorities if I got ticketed at 2am for anything other than something seriously egregious. Well…the government will find a way to feed itself whether it is dog registration, dump stickers or something else. We pay nearly $30/000 in property taxes for the benefit of living on a dirt road with no town water or sewer, no cell coverage and an somewhat small but decent school. I complain but I vote each year and haven’t moved yet. 🙂

  73. PaulaB February 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    I wasn’t worried about a dog getting out but my chickens worked out how to get out of my gate and I only found out after that they had been walking up the street and then back again to go to bed!!! I found out how the blighters got out and blocked the route so they stay where they can’t be run over but others can see them and I still have all of them

  74. Yocheved February 23, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    All cats, dogs, and ferrets should be microchipped, not because of theft, but because you never know when they are going to want to go on an adventure. Some of the most homebound pets can suddenly decide that digging under the fence or making a dash for the front door is a “great idea”.

    Add to that, a sudden thunder storm, car backfire, or 4th of July party could send your pet running for the hills. Pet shelters are full of animals after events like these.

    A microchip costs less than a fancy collar and tags. MAKE SURE YOU SEND IN YOUR PAPERWORK TO REGISTER IT! That is the biggest mistake pet owners make. The chip has to be registered BY YOU, the vet does not handle that part.