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The reasons pets are stolen:


For resale- if it is a desirable breed or is unique in some way
An individual has an interest in the pet
As revenge to hurt or cause the pet owner distress




NOTE: Any animal that is off the pet owner's property is considered stray. Even pets picked up on the street in front of their own home will not be considered stolen in legal terms. Keep this in mind.

In fact, a stolen pet used to be among the rarest of situations in the missing pet industry. Of the hundreds of cases that I was involved with in 2005 and 2006, only five were truly stolen pets. That all changed in 2007.

The value of "pocket pups" has continued to escalate; the supply and demand for these designer dogs is not equal. Until recently, the demand far outnumbered the supply. In many metropolitan cities, robberies and home invasions now include the theft of small toy dogs. From a pet shop held up in California, to home invasions for pups in the Midwest, the number of cases of small dogs stolen is on the rise.

What constitutes a stolen dog?

"For a pet to be considered stolen it must be removed bodily from its own property or property that belongs to its owner in much the same way that a stereo or car is stolen."

A dog or cat outside its property is legally considered stray and the laws protecting the pet owner in the case of someone taking the animal from a public place or on the property of another vary from state to state. So be careful with this definition when talking to law enforecment. If someone has picked up your dog on the street, even if they know this is your dog, legally they have picked up a stray and the law is very gray on the protocol for this from state to state, city to city.

In some states the police will become actively involved in a true stolen pet case while in other locations the local law enforcement may feel possession is 9/10's of the law.

Things to notice to determine if a dog has been stolen

Which dogs are more likely to be stolen

Case Study

Roscoe: A case of revenge