Each year, on February 14th, Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a non-profit animal advocacy organization, helps educate the public about the theft of family pets with informational public service announcements and tips. According to LCA, “Nearly two million companion animals are stolen each year. Many of these animals are sold to research laboratories, dog-fighting rings, or puppy mills, where they are abused and often killed.”
So, this month, let’s use the time to go over some of the important ways to help protect your beloved pet:
We all have heard those wonderful stories where lost pets are found and reunited with loved ones, thanks to a microchip! Have you moved or changed phone numbers recently? Be sure to update the information with your microchip company and veterinarian’s office.
It is true ID tags can be removed, but there are plenty of times dogs are found and tags can help locate the missing dog’s family right away. Be sure an up-to-date phone number, address, and pet name are on the tag. If the dog has any medical conditions, have that imprinted on the ID tag as well (i.e. Epileptic, Diabetic, etc.).
By spaying or neutering your dog, you not only reduce the chance of unexpected puppies and possibly adding to the already overpopulated shelters, but it also can help keep your dog from wandering, and possibly getting lost or stolen. And, according to Animal Welfare Issues, thieves also tend to pass on spayed or neutered pets, as they cannot be bred.
Never Leave Dog Unattended
Please be sure to always accompany your dog, and do not leave him/her unattended at a park or store, and never tied up to a post outside of a store, not even for a minute! It only takes a few seconds for a thief to grab your beloved dog.
Loving the Leash
When out walking, a leash is a dog’s best friend! Free-roaming dogs can get caught up in a scent, or suddenly chase a cat or squirrel, only to find themselves lost, or worse—stolen. Be sure to always check all harnesses, collars, and leash clips before heading out to be sure they are sturdy and working properly.
Ensuring Your Dog’s Privacy
Take inventory of the type of yard you have. Is the fence “dog-proofed?” Is your yard visible from the road? Is there a locking gate latch? Do you have a videocam? Get in your car or walk around to see what a stranger may see as they pass by your property. Secure any visible or open areas.
Rehoming/Fostering Only Through Reputable Rescues
While a pet should be a forever member of a family, there are times when extenuating circumstances lead to an animal needing to be rehomed or placed in foster care. To help, reach out and get in touch with the nearest rescue organization.
Should your pet become lost or stolen:
File a report with your state and local police, dog warden, shelters, veterinarian offices, and microchip company.
Create an online notice with info on a photo of your pet to be shared via social media.
Register your dog and photo with Lost and Found pages (general and breed-specific).
Create a poster with clear photos of your dog depicting any special markings and traits, and include contact information as well as the town and state from where the dog went missing. Share with news media, police, vets, shelters, and on social media.
For More Info:
Check out Helping Lost Pets where they offer FREE services to create a poster, add a missing pet to a registry, give tips on what to do and how to word your notice, and to set alerts. For dogs only, visit Lost Dogs of America. For more info on both of these resources, please tune in to my “Help! My Dog is Lost” 2-part episode on FiveSibes The Sibe Vibe on Dog Works Radio. Part I and Part II. Also, visit the FiveSibes website for a listing of important Lost & Found resources.
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.
Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).