South Florida residents are forever being warned about the prevalence of property theft. Generally speaking, our local miscreants are looking for cash, electronics, jewelry, and cars. Whilst victims of burglary often report feeling angry and vulnerable, many are quick to add that their possessions are merely "things". And things can be replaced. Sadly, however, more and more families are arriving home to find that their irreplaceable pets have been stolen as well.
Small, purebred dogs are common targets for pet thieves. Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas and Malteses are especially vulnerable. French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are hot commodities, and the popularity of Labradors and Labradoodles has caused a coinciding spike in thefts of these breeds as well. Finally, dog-nappers single out breeds with reputations for guarding and fighting. This puts German Shepherds, Pit bull type dogs, Rottweilers and Dobermans squarely in the sights of dog thieves.
The best way to protect your pets from theft is to keep them under your supervision at all times. Keep them indoors when you are not at home, and secure your home to the best of your ability. Unless your large breed dogs have been trained to protect your home, do not leave them outdoors unattended. Dog thieves are not easily intimidated, are many are very good at making friends with so-called "guard dogs." Finally, even if the air conditioner is running, do not leave a dog unattended in a car. Cars can be stolen in the time it takes us to blink, and a canine passenger is an added bonus to a car thief. Make sure your pets are micro-chipped, as this tiny device can provide proof of legal ownership if your pet is recovered and claimed by another party.
Sadly, we live in a time and space where too many humans fail to see animals as anything other than commodities. If we apply the same principles of vigilance towards our pets as we do to our inanimate possessions, we can offer our companion animals a measure of protection from the unthinkable.