When you realize that someone has stolen your dog, your first reaction is disbelief.
“This can’t possibly be happening”, you’ll think. “I must just be looking in the wrong place”. That’s the start of a nightmare that any of us who have had French Bulldogs stolen are all too familiar with.
Last year, I posted about a missing French Bulldog, and a woman from Chicago named Beth Gottlieb posted a response in the comments. Her French Bulldog, Delilah Blue, had been stolen from right inside of her apartment, by a conman who managed to get inside of her door.
This brought back shocking memories for me of the theft of my own French Bulldog puppy, Ruby, who was also stolen from inside my house. In our case, it was a tradesman familiar with the layout of our property, but the feelings of disbelief and violation are the same.
I was reminded of Beth’s story when I noticed a Chicago Tribune article titled “Dog Thefts: Thieves hit closer to home when pets are taken“.
The lead photograph is of Beth, with her new French Bulldog. Beth never did get Delilah Blue back, and she says that she is haunted by thoughts of where her dog is, and how she is being treated. Beth says –
“I think until the day I take my last breath, I will always wonder what happened to my dog”.
You can read the entire article here
Pet thefts definitely seem to be taking a dramatic rise across the country, and I also read an alarming number of news alerts about stolen French Bulldog in the UK. Expensive breeds like Frenchies and Bulldogs are popular targets for thieves, some of whom steal dogs to be re sold, while others seek out intact dogs that they can use for breeding.
Here’s a short list of things that owners can do to help protect their dogs against theft, and ways to help increase your chances of getting your dog back if they are stolen.
- Microchip your dog. Without a chip, we would never have gotten Ruby back after she was stolen. A microchip will be almost universally accepted by most law enforcement and shelters as positive proof of ownership. Make SURE to keep your microchip contact information up to date. If you move, or change your phone number, notify the company which maintains your chip’s database. A chip can’t help if the company can’t reach you.
- Put a tag on your dog with your phone number and a notice that your dog is microchipped. Provide your microchip manufacturer’s 800 phone number on the tag, in case they are picked up by an individual, or a shelter without a chip reader.
- Keep your dog’s chip number and other identifying information on file someplace in your house – and also on your cell phone.
- Keep two or three accurate, up to date photographs of your dog on file, for use on missing posters and email list. A head shot, a body shot, and a shot showing any easily identifiable markings or patterns. I can’t tell you how many people contact me about missing Frenchies who do NOT have photos they can also supply.
- Consider adding a note on your dog’s tag about a ‘special medical condition’ – and about a reward for their return.
- Downplay your dog’s value to strangers, tradespeople and overly interested parties. Anyone who asks you too many pointed questions about the worth of your dog should be treated with suspicion. It might hurt your ego to refer to your dog as “Just a worthless neutered pet with bad knees and a horrid case of worms”, but if it keeps them safe, play it up. In particular, make it really clear that your dog is FIXED. A dog who can’t be bred is a dog who is worth less money.
- Breeders should think twice about having obvious signs outside their property advertising that you have purebred dogs in your house. Keep kennels, runs and yards screened from the street, keep breed specific paraphernalia outside the house to a minimum, and signs about ‘puppies available’ (does anyone do this anymore?) are a definite no.
- Don’t leave dogs unattended in yards – I know of a few Frenchies who have been stolen by someone simply unlatching the gate, walking inside and picking up the dog, all while their owner was home inside of the house. Put simple locks on gates that allow people access to your yards.