First the bad news: the number of dog reported stolen in the US is skyrocketing!
And now the good news: with the help of the interned and social networks more dogs are returned home then ever before…
That’s how the media is reporting it, anyway.
In reality, I believe the story is different. Thieves only operate where is demand. As far as I know the demand for dogs has not increased in the last few years. What has changed is the options of searching for your dog. Whereas in the past the best an owner could do is fliers on electric poles, today it’s Twitter and Facebook. These are ways to alert your friends about the theft, but also to alert the thief about where you live, who you are and how much you are prepared to spend to get your dog back.
It is this concern – that in the height of emotion the owners will make themselves vulnerable to crime, that makes me urge the public to not display any personal information about yourself when searching for a missing dog.
That includes your name, address or the amount of reward you are willing to offer!
Remember, the same person who stole your dog could be after your valuables and access to your house.
It is my wish that these informal networks are put under closer Police scrutiny.
In Australia an internet site developed to reunite owners with their missing mobile phones (for a reward) was shut down by Police after it became apparent that the site was fueling theft.
In the meantime, all we can do is be vigilant and rely on ourselves.