Pet theft on the rise, legislators expected to respond

Posted 5 January 2010

The American Kennel Club (AKC) reports an alarming rise in "dog-nappings" for 2009. Through November 30, 2009, the AKC has tracked more than 115 missing pets from incidents reported by news media and customer reports. In 2008, the AKC tracked a total of 71 thefts.

"Each week I am reading about reports of pet theft from all around the country," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Some owners, desperate to find their beloved pets have contacted us, wanting to know what they can do to help get their 'family' members back. It's not just about the financial value of the dog for any of these people. It's an emotional attachment that can't be replaced by getting another dog."

State legislators across the country are taking notice. Recently in New York, following the disappearance of a Siberian Husky in Brooklyn, S 6354 was introduced to establish the crimes of pet theft in the first and second degree. A bill was also introduced in Texas which would have made it a state felony to steal a pet, including the family dog, with a possible two years in prison if convicted. As this issue receives more publicity, similar legislation can be expected in states in 2010.

In response to this continuing trend, AKC offers advice to prevent pets from being the target of a crime.

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