Keep A Close Eye On Your Animals At All Times
For over a decade, I’ve been blessed to work with all types of animals. People and institutions contact me to assist them with their domestic animals, farm animals and sanctuary animals. I work with them in numerous ways but, what I’m probably best known for is my work with missing animals.
I have worked with missing animals from around the world from Hawaii to New Zealand and virtually everywhere in between. It’s challenging work that I have had a great deal of success with. It’s always heartwarming and thrilling when an animal is reunited with their human companion.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a very disturbing trend that seems to be on the rise here in America and in many other countries. This trend, that is also reflected in the number of cases that I’m being asked to assist with, is the increase in animal thefts. We, as caretakers, need to be even more vigilant in keeping the animals in our care safe.
Here are a few short cases I’ve worked on where an animal in someone’s care was stolen:
- A client took her Golden Retriever with her to pick up their new truck from the dealership. The truck had all the latest anti-theft features and she secured her dog in a harness in the front seat. She needed to make a quick stop at a local store before heading home. When she came back to the parking lot both her new truck and her dog were gone. To date, neither has been located.
- A client let her Boston Terrier go outside each afternoon to lay on the back patio within the fenced backyard. One day she let her dog out, ran back inside to get her mobile phone, came back outside and saw a van pull away. At that point, she noticed that her dog was missing. We immediately put a plan in place that included notifying the authorities and the local media. After a few days of constant pressure from the media and law enforcement, her dog reappeared during Sunday service at the local church that was two doors down from their home.
- A client was traveling for business and left her dog in the hotel room while she attended a conference. She also hung the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door. When she returned to the room, her dog was gone. She approached the hotel manager, who promptly denied knowing anything about the incident. After the authorities got involved, it was discovered that the hotel manager took the dog and had given the dog to a friend.
- A client contacted me regarding her stolen Yorkshire Terrier. He went missing shortly after some contractors had visited her house to do some repair work. Her dog was later found at one of the worker’s homes. It was Valentine’s Day and he thought the dog would be a great gift for his new girlfriend.
Unfortunately, I could go on and on about stories regarding stolen animals. I’ve had cases where cats were stolen from front porches, horses stolen with the intent to sell them at auction and birds taken from home, cage and all, and kept by someone else as their pet.
There are many steps that need to be taken when your animal has been stolen. Here are a few of the do’s and don’ts that I recommend:
- Do contact the local authorities to file a police report and follow up with them at least weekly for updates.
- Do contact the companies where you have your animals microchipped and tattoos are registered to ensure the contact information is current.
- Do contact the local animal shelters, rescue organizations, grooming businesses, pet supply stores and veterinarians in the area on a daily basis.
- Do get the local media involved. This makes the perpetrators aware that you are actively looking and they may be compelled to return your animal.
- Do put a plan in place to get the message out to everyone and ask for assistance.
- Don’t enter private property to search for your animal without permission or without the authorities being present.
- Don’t assume someone has your pet just because they call and tell you that they do. Unfortunately, a lot of animals look alike.
- Don’t give anyone the reward money without proof that they have your animal and the animal is back in your possession.
- Don’t assume all tips you receive are legitimate. Unfortunately, you may receive some prank phone calls.
- Don’t ever stop looking for your animal. Missing animals can turn up weeks, and sometimes months or years later.
The important thing is to try to stay calm, put a solid plan in place to find your animal, and keep a positive attitude that your animal will be returned to you. You can never do too much and your animal is counting on you to bring them home safely. Most of all, keep an eye on them at all times.
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