13 September 2010

Stolen dog reunited with owners after 7 years, tips on how to prevent pet theft

Last week Brad and Amy Davis received a surprising phone call - their family dog who had been missing for 7 years had been found over 400 miles away from their Michigan home. Jake, then a 9 month old Weimaraner, had been stolen from their backyard the day after Thanksgiving in 2003 by thieves who had left his collar behind. Despite the fact that Jake had a microchip, and that the family offered a reward for his return, the Davises had no news of his whereabouts until a recovery specialist from the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR) called to say Jake's microchip had been scanned at the Esthill County Animal Shelter in Ravenna, Kentucky. Jake is now back in Michigan and is settling back into family life.

For the past two years the AKC has been tracking the rising trend of pet thefts across America, and according to their National Pet Theft Database (based on customer and media reports), around 177 pets have been stolen so far in 2010, compared to 162 last year and 71 in 2008. Despite the thefts however, pets with permanent identification, like Jake, can be traced back to their original owners.

"When the shelter staff contacted us I was really glad we had the family's updated information in our database," said Phyllis Arsenault, the recovery specialist who handled Jake's case. "When I spoke to Brad, he was ecstatic about his dog's return."

"We are thrilled to reunite the Davises and Jake after all these years," said Tom Sharp, CEO of AKC CAR. "Jake's homecoming demonstrates how important it is for pet owners to first verify their pet's microchip is enrolled in a pet recovery service like AKC CAR that charges no annual fees or record update fees, and second, to make sure their contact information is always up-to-date."

For more information on AKC CAR's microchip and lifetime recovery service call 1-800-252-7894 or go to akccar.org.

To watch the Davis family talking about Jake's remarkable return home on the CBS Early Show go to CBSnews.com.

In response to the alarming number of pet thefts, the AKC offers the following guidelines to ensure your pet does not become another crime statistic.


In your neighborhood
  • Don't let your dog off leash - Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of theives.
  • Don't leave your dog unattended in the your yard - Dogs left outside for long periods are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.
  • Be cautious with information - If strangers approach you to admire your dog, don't answer questions relating to the cost of the animal or where you live. 
On the road
  •  Don't leave your dog in in unattended car, even if it's locked - apart from the obvious health risks to the dog, it's also an invitation to thieves, even if you've only left the car momentarily. Leaving expensive items on the car will only encourage a break-in which could allow the dog to escape, even if the thieves don't take it.
  • Don't tie your dog outside a store - This popular practice could be an easy target to a thief. If you need to take your dog with you to the store, only go to a dog-friendly store.
  • Protect your dog with microchip ID - Collars and tags can be easily lost or removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Thieves will not know the dog is microchipped until a veterinarian or shelter worker scans it so keep your contact information up-to-date with your microchip recovery service provider. For more information, enroll your pet in a 24-hour recovery service at www.akccar.org
  • If you suspect your dog has been stolen - Immediately call the police/animal control officer for the are your dog was last seen and file a police report. if your dog has a microchip, ask to have the unique serial number (and the dog's description) posted int eh 'stolen article' section of the National Crime Information Center.
  • Canvass the neighborhood - Talk to the people in the area your pet went missing for possible sightings of the theft.
  • Have fliers with a recent photo ready to go if your dog goes missing - Keep several current photos (profile and headshot) of your dog in you wallet or an easily accessible website so that you can distribute it quickly if your pet goes missing.
  • Contact the local media - Call the local TV, radio and newspaper and ask to have a web post put out about your missing pet.
  • Don't buy dogs from the internet, flea markets or roadside vans - There is simply no way you can verify where a dog bought from one of these outlets came from. Web sites and online classifieds can be easily falsified and chances are you will never be able to find or identify the seller in case of a problem.
  • Even newspaper ads may be suspect - Adult dogs offered for sale at reduced prices, for a 'relocation fee', or asking for last minute shipping fees should be red flags. Dog owners who truly love their pets and are unable to keep them will choose to find a loving home without payment for re-homing the animal.
  • Seek out reputable breeders or rescue groups - Visit the home of the breeder, meet the puppy's mother, and see the litter of puppies. Developing a good relationship with the breeder will bring you peace of mind when purchasing. Contacting breed shelter groups can be a safe alternative when looking for an adult dog.
  • Demand proper papers on your purebred puppy - Ask for the AKC Litter Registration Number and contact AKC customer services at 919-233-9767 to verify registration authenticity of your purebred puppy.
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    Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
    Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

    Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/AKC Companion Animal Recovery


    1. What a sweet and happy story.

    2. 7 years!!! WOW how wonderful that they were reunited!!!

    3. Hamilton Ontario Canada Sept 2010
      Part 1

      I changed all names and businesses and locations except my own name because like you will read This matter is still in conflict and I dont want to hurt my chances getting him back but I would love feed back.
      A couple of years ago I was leaving a bad relationship and my boyfriend of a year tried to keep my dog that I had for 6 years I contacted police and they said that they had made arrangements for the next morning I could pick up my dog. I went to pick up my dog and he wasnt there he had removed the dog from the house and placed him with someone else to hide him he told police that the dog had run off without a collar on and the said to me there was nothing more they could do until I found the dog they had no way of disproving his story. I searched high and low for him and always have he is an amazing dog very special You'll hear much more about him shortly. about a month ago I was searching a site called petfinder as I always do along with many other site always hoping and I say his picture right away knowing it was him its funny that I find him on a world wide site rather then a local site but anyway he was on for adoption through a rescue called adopt A . but I frantically called every rescue center in Ontario trying to find a contact I had also contacted the site but there was only e-mail no phone # listed finally 2 days later I received a response a phone call in the email I explained that he had been stolen and so on and when she called I told her all about his special tricks and identifying marks he as a little bump on his ear its like a grain of rice on the fold of his ear its like a little skin tag and along with that I sent many pic of him there was no question he was my dog little weight gain but no question it was the same dog.

    4. Hamilton Ontario Canada Sept 2010
      Part 2

      Lucky for both of us he was in a loving foster home waiting to be adopted. so we made arrangements to meet, he was being fostered in o so the women from adopt A. made arrangements with me to see him for our first visit until he can be returned home in a park in m . my Dog was in o Im in sc and lady from adop A is north so lady from adopt A decided that was the best location for all. The meet was fantastic it was very emotional there was alot of crying and DOG (AKA Doggy, the name being used but the foster family a couple named k c). DOG remembered me and was happy to see me and the couple had explained that when they called him DOG it was as if a cloud lifted in DOG as if he could say you know me! After the visit I kept contacting lady from adopt A to have him returned and a few days later she called to say that on the upcoming weekend she was going to bring him down and do a home visit and then he was to stay for the weekend to make sure everything would go well and after that well make arrangement to adopt him. I didnt care what needed to be done I would do it to have my dog returned two nights before the visit I called again to find out what time she would be coming and she then informed me that she could not bring DOG with her that the foster family had made a complaint to the adoption agency that I had not had a home inspection an so on yet and they would not give the dog untill it has been done. That Saturday lady from adopt A came to my home with one of her foster dog met my family my other dog looked trough vet bills and then we went to the dog park and she met many of my dogs friends and spent a great part of the afternoon and talked where she told me how lovely my family is and how wonderful my place is and how it would be a great home for DOG but.... then she told me that now the foster family wanted to keep DOG that they have grow attached to this family and how they have fostered many dog for there rescue centre and how she had never been in this situation before where an owner had tracked down a dog. By monday morning I could wait any more so I called a few times that morning until lady from Adopt A called me back. We talked and she now said she isnt sure if she is going to return him or not and mentioned that the humane society covers the adoptions very well and i have no rights to DOG and the adoption centre is the only one that he legal rights over DOG. She said that Tuesday afternoon she will have a decision made and she will call me then. After that I called the humane society in B the nearest one I could find a number to and spoke to a women by the name ? where she informed me that in most cases that the adoptions were legally binding and there would be no exception but in this case because the dog was stolen that the adoption was not legally binding because they cannot adopt out a stolen dog. (stolen dog were similar to a car for example if someone was to steal a car from jane, give it to a car lot and then the car lot sells it to lets call the buyer "john" then the police find the car that john has bought the car is taken back to Jane because even though john got it legally it is still janes car). Anyway this is where I am at now I don’t want to call the police because to be honest Im not all that sure the police are going to put in all that effort to return my dog after all they should have been able to get my dog back in the first place and didnt. All i want is for my dog to be returned and I dont know how to do it if he isnt returned to me tomorrow.
      To be continued ...

    5. Hamilton Ontario Canada Sept 2010

      Here is one of the emails sent
      I got DOG at 6 months old and you’d never believe it to see him after but he was very nervous and timid dog but he quickly gained his confidence and became a proud boy and very pushy at times, like if he wants to get some love he comes up and sticks his big head in your lap and puts his nose under your hand until he gets his pets and could you imagine a dog that size and yet still a lap dog J . There is a few things I wanted to share with you that you may or may not know by now and I also wanted to share just how very special he is , I know everyone thinks there dog is “special “ but he really is. First I just wanted to share a little tidbits when he gives paw if you say friends he will always give you his right paw and if you say enemies he will all ways give you his left and you can do it quickly and interchange them and he will always get it right. He’s fav treat is dairy queen vanilla ice cream in a cup with the cone on top. He drinks out of water bottles very well he has lots of manners. For a while he really didn’t like tap water only bottled and people though I was nuts but I guess The smell of Hamilton tap water in the summer made him not want to drink it so bottled water it was. He loves the water but one of his first times swimming he was swimming back and forth in a pond area most areas shallow enough to reach the bottom except one 10ft circle area way much deeper on about his forth lap right in the middle of the area he went to reach for the bottom and panicked when he did find it and just decided he couldn’t swim I had to do in after him and boy did he scratch me but anyway since then in areas that are deeper we are both better with his life jacket. Also at one time I was contract to work for COMPANY taking water samples from ships and became great friends with many people different areas of the ship and the were doing search and rescue training and although I wasn’t officially certified DOG was trained in different searches. He was amazing with searching and trailing. There are tons of games he loves that are good training techniques. Also it funny that such a big dog could be so gentle, a friend of mine had puppies and we visited her house and the mother was never really protective of the puppies but when Titus was there he went to the gate and barked and cried so my friend brought over one of the puppies and he picks up the puppy and goes and lays with the puppy in a corner cuddled up a few min later he gets back up and goes back to the gate and starts another fuss and does it over and over again until all the puppies are safe sleeping with him I swear he has such a mothering instinct, lol. He’s can also heard other animals and calm younger nervous or anxious dogs he gets them to just relax so quickly. I guess I cant keep going on forever and believe me I probable could but one last thing he saved a women’s life a friend was babysitting Titus and she had an alleyways behind her place and he was in the back on the porch which overlooks the alleyway and apparently a women was attacked and he broke his collar jumped a fence and held him down with no harm to the man. Isn’t that something. Anyway hopefully I get a chance to see him again.
      Thanks for everything you really saved someone so very special you saved a hero.
      Send lots of love to him and to you for saving him

    6. Hamilton Ontario Canada Sept 2010
      Part 4

      To whom it may concern,
      I have been asked to write this letter on behalf of my good acquaintance, Kristina and her beloved dog DOG. My name is C and I am a personal attendant working for House. I have known Kristina for approximately the last 8 years . I would like to attest to the fact that Kristina is a very loyal, caring, and responsible individual, and pet owner. Previous to DOG being taken from her, I witnessed her relationship with DOG in many respects. Kristina cared for DOG as any loving owner would care for their pet. DOG was kept to date on vaccines, he was obedience trained and then some on top of that, he was a well fed and cared for animal. Kristina took DOG where ever she went. He was exercised and walked on a regular basis. DOG at times, even came with her to my residence to stay for visits. DOG was loyal to his owner and they had a special bond, until he was stolen. Kristina was extremely distressed, depressed, frustrated after DOG was taken, as any responsible owner would have been. To deny this woman her pet, after seeking him and finding him would be a great injustice. Not every owner would have been so persistent as to find their pet as Kristina has been. Her diligence paid off. Now to be denied access to the dog she raise, loved, and searched for is heartbreaking. I want you to know the excitement I heard in her voice and saw in her eyes when she told me she had found DOG! Kristina loved this dog dearly and he was a huge part of her life. Please let Kristina and DOG have their bond and life back together. DOG couldn't have an owner that would care for him more.

      To: Whom it may concern
      My name is CF, Im writing this letter on behalf of Kristina, Kristina and I have been close friends for about 18 yrs now. She is Godmother to my children and I consider her my sister! She has been searching for DOG for 2 yrs now, since he was stolen from her. She hasnt givin up on him, she loves DOG like as if he was her own child. She is loving, and caring to her animals! She would take DOG on all kinds of fun adventures he loves the pier in Hamilton we would walk down there alot, dog parks, hiking trails, camping, even for a simple drive to Tim Hortons was made fun for DOG. His shots are all up to date if he sneezed She would be at the vet like agood owner! I have a small children my 4 1/2yr old B still remembers DOG and loves him very much! Kristina deserves the chance to have Her dog back, he wasn't givin away he was stolen from her, witch broke her heart and like I said already she has searched for 2 yrs for DOG, The fact that she found him is amazing and shows just how much she loves and missis Her baby boy DOG! Please have a heart and consider giving DOG back to Kristina, where he belongs! He will have a great home, with a family that will love him forever, Thank You for your time

    7. hamilton Ontario Sept 2010

      I also have many letters from fiends co workers and others on my behalf to have DOG returned even form a home employee (people with home care needs) that me and DOG visit on occasions. Here are a few.
      Thanks Kristina

      To whom it may concern
      I'm just writing to let you know Kristina was a great mother/owner to DOG, We hung out almost everyday for a whole summer, and that dog was always with us, Daily trips to the dog park near her parents home in A, long walks on the trails,and various other locations.He was always well feed, and groomed, she loved that dog as if it were a child, and i know she is very upset by this whole situation, she is and always will be the rightful owner of DOG, and myself along with a long list of family and friends would like to see him returned home,when someone is as close and caring for an animal as she was to DOG, it becomes a part of the family, I hope you find it in your hearts to let him return home, We miss him!!!!!! Sincerely D

      Hello my name is R and I am a full time employee of . I am work in the department. I was wirting this letter to confirm that I have known Kristina for over 15 years. I knew her when she had her dog named DOG. She is expectional dog owner and has always provided her dog with all the essentials he needs. She use to take the dog for walks at least three times a day. She took him to the vets regularly for his appointments. Krisitna will go above and beyond to ensure that her dog is well taken care of. She is very passionate about animals especially dogs.
      Please take this letter into consdieration when you are making your decision on who should have permanet custody of Krisitna dog.
      Thank you, R