Lost and Found; what to do when your Puggie disappears

Lost and Found; what to do when your Puggie disappears

Haylo Hooman’s and Puggies,

I was driving around town this week when I drove past a sign (the size of a real estate for sale sign) on the side of the highway with a picture of a dog with the offer of a reward for their safe return.

The sign stuck me in two ways; first that the dog’s owner loved them so much that they were willing to go to the expense of offering a large reward, and secondly to also purchase a sign of that size to make sure that passing motorists could see the picture of their dog clearly. The sign said that their beautiful dog was lost, but I have read and heard that it is not usually the case. Saying that a beloved pet is lost is a tactic/euphemism used by professional pet detectives to get would be dog- nappers to return a dog without fear of police intervention.

With the evolution of the fur-family, our fur-children, our Puggies, are becoming the targets of people/gangs who wish to either ransom or on-sell to people on sites such as Gumtree either knowingly or unknowingly who are happy to pay the asking price. Apparently, the use of stolen fur-children for dogfighting is not the only reason anymore (see ref 1).

Although we Puggie-parents would say otherwise, under Australian Law dogs are classed as ‘chattel’ or moveable property, which basically means you own your Puggie and you have the right to sell them should you see fit; the ‘theft’ of your Puggie is against the law and dealt with under the Crimes Act 1900 (refs 1, 2, 3). However, this is cold comfort after the fact, so the following information is for your use to keep your Puggies safe and get them home should you ever have to go through the horror of getting them back.

What to do to prevent your Puggie from being stolen?

Unbelievably, your Puggie can be stolen from anywhere, including you home, car, the leash-free park or outside a shop or supermarket. Sometimes its opportunistic, and sometimes it’s planned, such as the use of a piece of electrical tape on your letterbox to indicated which house to return to when you’re not home (ref 4). Sometimes not taking your Puggie for a walk down to the local milk bar to get the morning paper is the safer option if there is a chance your Puggie is out of your sight long enough for someone to grab them and walk away unseen.

For your home, the Queensland Police Service recommends that “To deter people from entering your address and removing property, … keep gates locked and to keep them in good repair. For safety and security reasons the main entry and exit areas to your home should be well lit. A sensor light will activate even when you are not home and can act as a deterrent as it increases the risk and likelihood of being seen.” (ref 1)

What to do if your Puggie is stolen to increase the likelihood of their return to you

Even if you do everything right, there is always the chance that your Puggie is targeted. There are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of being reunited:

  • ‘Call the police right away and ask to file a report. This will create a record of the theft and make it easier to retrieve your pet if you happen to see her or hear of her location.
  • Call all of the shelters, veterinary offices, and grooming salons in your town and neighboring towns. The thief may have second thoughts about keeping the animal and may even take her to the veterinarian's office or grooming salon to dump her.
  • Post flyers offering a reward for any information leading to the recovery of your pet, but don't indicate that you believe she was stolen. The person who stole her might want to give her back, but probably won't if there's the possibility of prosecution. Also, someone that simply finds your pet may not turn her in because you may believe that the rescuer is the thief. Don't even use the words "no questions asked." Finally, do not specify the amount of the reward.
  • Write an email or letter to your local newspapers to let them know about the theft. Include a photo of your pet and any details that you think may interest a reporter, especially genuine details that pull at the heartstrings, like your pet being a therapy dog, the best friend of a handicapped child, or rescued from a tragic situation. If there have been other pet thefts in the area, perhaps there's a pet crime wave in your town, and that's definitely a story for the paper.
  • Call your local radio station and offer them the same story. You might find a DJ that will take up your cause.
  • If you happen to see your pet with someone else, you can approach and ask about the pet in a neutral way if you feel safe. If not, call the police immediately, and have your case number on hand. Try to follow the person at a distance. If you see the pet in someone else's yard, contact the police immediately. Do not try to recover the pet yourself—this can be very dangerous, and you don't want to be arrested for trespassing. Use your best judgment and don't rush into a situation that you can't handle.
  • If someone calls you from another state or town asking for money to ship your pet back, it's probably a scam. Predators often target vulnerable pet owners through classified ads or flyers.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car, outside of a store, or even in your yard if there's a way that a thief can easily enter.’ (ref 5)

All of the above may feel like common sense until you’re in the situation and feeling violated and/or shocked about what has happened to start getting the word out. If you’re not sure about what to include in your reward poster, there is a link to a website that offers free templates in the reference list below (ref 6) to get you started.

If you don’t believe you can do all that is listed or you have serious concerns for the speedy recovery of your Puggie, there are companies available to help you for a fee and I have included a link to an Australia wide recovery service in the reference list below (ref 7*).

Apparently, the number of reported dogs stolen in Victoria and New South Wales has decreased since 2014; however, there is no definitive reason why this is the case (ref 3). Hopefully it’s because we’re becoming more vigilant about the safety of our dogs/Puggies and the use of social media to get the word out there quickly means that would be thief’s are reluctant to take a chance.

Have you seen a letterbox with the tape marking? Have you used any of the above technics and is there something we missed that worked well for you? Have you used a professional pet recovery service and can provide further insight?

We’d love to hear of your experiences and share them with the rest of the Grumble; why don’t you join us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to hear and learn from your experience(s).

Until next week Puggies, stay safe and keep on snuffling.


From Donna


Proud Pug-mum to Winston and Charles

Founder of Pug Parties


#blog #stolen #actions #staysafe #puglove

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  1. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/home/pets/pet-investigator-claims-dogs-are-being-stolen-from-homes-and-sold-on-the-black-market/news-story/cfda438197100c990d14475a14eb3860 
  1. https://www.findingbeau.com/legal_status.htm
  1. https://williamsummers.blog/2018/07/19/dog-thefts-nsw-victoria/
  1. https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/has-your-home-been-marked-by-dognappers-woman-is-left-horrified-after-discovering-the-true-meaning-of-a-small-piece-of-black-tape-stuck-to-her-letterbox/ar-AABhvVx?li=AA4RE4&%253Bocid=iehp#page=2
  1. https://www.homeagain.com/articles/stolen-pet-what-to-do.html
  1. https://www.designcap.com/poster/lost-dog.html - lost dog poster templates
  1. http://petsearch.com.au/index.php/what-we-do-to-find-lost-and-stolen-pets/ - professional pet recovery service

* I have not used this service and I am not being paid to provide their details in this article, but I believe in providing as much information as possible to ensure that you have as much information as possible should you need it one day.

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