Rumors swirl about stolen dogs and the reasoning for thefts

By on June 10, 2016

As long as I’ve been involved in the animal community, and as long as I’ve been writing about it here (three years), I’ve heard rumors and accounts of dogs being stolen from their yards. It happens. But why are the dogs being stolen?

One popular belief is that dogs are being snatched up because the thieves hope to turn the dogs into fighting animals. Another theory is related. Others believe dogs, especially small and timid ones, are being grabbed and taken to places where dog fighting occurs. These little dogs are, according to some, used as “bait” or “punching bags” for the fighters.

And for as long as I’ve been hearing these stories, I’ve wondered whether they are true. If they are, I, like the rest of you, am appalled. If they’re not, we’ve still got to explain why dogs are being picked up and taken away.

Mark Langan, Vice President of Field Operations at the Nebraska Humane Society says this about the theory of pick-up for fighting:

“In my 11+ years at NHS, we’ve consistently heard rumors of dogs being stolen to be used as “bait” for dog-fight dogs. We have never verified this to be true.”

In addition, and this is one reason to stay vigilant if you’re one who believes this happens, Langan says that the “NHS has had a standing $10,000 reward for years. Give us information to bust a dog fight, we pay you $10,000.”

So far, the rumors are just that. Rumors. Until evidence is found, that’s what they’ll be. That’s not to say it’s fiction, however. Our advice: keep an eye out, and if you can, grab a plate number and description of people who are partaking in these nefarious activities. Your tip could be the first lead that provides the NHS and its animal cops with what they need to stop this problem.

And what if dogs really are being stolen? I’ve not seen it myself, but enough pet owners have lost a dog or seen theirs disappear without a trace to believe it’s possible.

Maybe someone likes your dog. And instead of adopting one like it, yours is right there for the taking. Not likely, but not inconceivable. There are, quite simply, people who don’t make correct, rational decisions.

Or maybe you’ve been the target of an “animal flipper.”

People who “flip” houses acquire a home for a good price, then sell it for more, making a profit. There are people who take a free animal or one they’ve purchased at a small cost from places like Craig’s List. And after securing the animal somewhere out of view, these people advertise animals on the same website for a higher price. Often they do this under the guise of “re-homing” an animal they can’t have anymore or one that a friend has to give up. I was recently contacted by a person who has been messed with by one of these “flippers.” They won’t show pictures (because someone may identify a stolen pet), they won’t negotiate price, they won’t say where the animal came from. All they’re concerned with is taking a free animal (by whatever means) and selling it; or taking an animal purchased for some amount and selling it for more. What a way to make a buck. Shameful.

If your animal is stolen or lost, here’s what to do:

  • contact your local shelters. If the animal is there, you can provide proof that it’s yours and reclaim it.
  • use social media. Report shady activity and give details if you’ve got them. If your pet is stolen, this can help others be more mindful and protective. If your dog is lost, there are places where you can post pictures, descriptions, location, and more- thousands of dogs are lost, found, then returned thanks to the online animal community.

Are the rumors true? Until there’s proof, no. But if they are, we all need to be watchful and careful. If you see something, say something. And if rumors or claims that these things are happening helps spread the word, I suppose there’s no harm in doing it. Inciting panic isn’t typically well-received, but if it leads to pet parents being a little more careful, incite away. There’s always more than one approach to take.

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