While the American Kennel Club reports that there was a 32 percent increase in dog thefts last year, it's currently not a big problem in Alexandria.
The club, which has been tracking such thefts since 2007, says the most common way thieves snatch the dogs is when pets are kept in cars or tied up outside stores while owners are doing errands, says the ASPCA blog, which reported the data. Dognappings often increase during the summer when owners are more apt to combine dog-walking with running errands.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says pets also are sometimes stolen from yards or during burglaries.
The Alexandria Animal Welfare League's Patrick Cole says his group has only heard of a couple of cases involving stolen pets in the last year to 18 months, and in one case the complaint was dropped.
However, the league recommends that pet owners:
- License a pet with the city;
- Always make sure a pet is wearing a collar with identification tags;
- Microchip a pet for easy identification;
- Do not leave a pet unattended in a car, outside of a business, or in your front yard;
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time or overnight; and
- Use caution and be observant. Even when pets are in off-leash areas, they can quickly disappear. Make sure your pet is always visible.