Dog Thieves Taking Advantage of Demand for Pandemic Pets

People might have heard about the dog theft of Lady Gaga’s dogs on February 24. For those who could use a refresher, Lady Gaga’s walker Ryan Fischer was walking her three dogs Asia, Gustav, and Koji when he was shot in the chest by dog thieves, who proceeded to take Gustav and Koji but left Asia behind. Fortunately, Fischer managed to survive the incident. Furthermore, Lady Gaga posted a $500,000 reward for information relating to her dogs, with the result that a woman brought them to the LAPD’s Olympic Community Police Station on February 26. It hasn’t been revealed how the woman managed to get her hands on the dogs. However, it is believed that she had nothing to do with the incident.

Why Have Dog Thefts Become More Common in Recent Times?

Unfortunately, the dog theft of Lady Gaga’s dogs isn’t an isolated incident. Instead, it is a part of a trend caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Essentially, what happened was that a lot of people were forced to stay at home because of the emergency measures needed to contain the pandemic. This produced a huge upsurge in the demand for dogs because said individuals wanted something to do, which in turn, produced a huge upsurge in the price for dogs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, criminals responded to this by carrying out more dog thefts because a single dog is capable of selling for thousands and thousands of dollars. Regardless, dog theft is devastating. After all, a lot of dog owners treat their canine companions as family members, meaning that it is very common for them to feel anxiety, depression, and even PTSD. On top of this, the stolen dogs are often mistreated in one way or another, thus creating further cause for concern. As such, it is very understandable that some dog owners would look into ways to prevent dog theft from happening to them.

What Can You Do If You Get Targeted?

Here are some of the measures that might help interested individuals prevent their dogs from being stolen:

  • Tighten Your Privacy Settings – It is common for people to share too much information on their social media profiles. This is fine when those who see that information are limited to their friends and family members. However, there are a lot of people who are very relaxed when it comes to their privacy settings, with the result that what they post on their social media profile is viewable by a much wider range of people than recommended. After all, criminals like to use social media sites to search for targets of opportunity. Due to this, dog owners should consider tightening their privacy settings so that sensitive information won’t be seen by strangers. Furthermore, they should consider limiting the information that they post about their dog, though this can be much more difficult than something like, say, limiting the information that they post about their vacation times.
  • Don’t Use the Same Walking Pattern Day After Day – Speaking of which, there are still criminals who use more old-fashioned ways to look for targets of opportunity. For instance, a lot of people like to repeat their routines, which can be exploited by those who catch sight of them. As such, it can be a good idea for interested individuals to change their walking patterns in various ways such as the time that they head out, the routes that they take, and so on and so forth. This isn’t a perfect strategy. However, this can make them less predictable to criminals, thus reducing their chances of being targeted for dog theft.
  • Be Cautious Around Strangers – Dog owners should be cautious around strangers. Sometimes, this refers to the people who come up to them while they are out and about with their dog. This doesn’t mean that dog owners should be snarling at those who would like to pet their dog, particularly since most of them will have perfectly innocent intentions. However, it does mean that they should behave with a sense of care and caution. Other times, this extends to the process of entrusting their dogs to other people. For instance, if they are looking for a dog walker, their best option is entrusting their dog to either a friend, a family member, or someone else who they know to be trustworthy. Unfortunately, this won’t always be possible, which is why interested individuals should put serious effort into making sure that the potential candidates can actually be trusted. If they are unsure about a dog walker, a dog sitter, or some similar individual’s trustworthiness for any reason whatsoever, they should err on the side of caution because it will be too late for regrets if something bad happens because they were too trusting.
  • Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended – Perhaps unsurprisingly, an unattended dog is a much easier target than a dog with their dog owner. As such, interested individuals shouldn’t leave their dog on their own. For example, they should never leave their dog in their car while they run errands, particularly since car heat death is a very real phenomenon that can kick in with horrific speed. Similarly, interested individuals shouldn’t let their dogs run off on their own, which is even more true than usual if they are moving through either crowded areas or wooded areas.
  • Microchip – There is a lot of interest in keeping dogs safe. Naturally, this means that there is a fair amount of tech that do exactly that. In particular, interested individuals might want to get their dogs microchipped, which will make it much easier to find them if something goes wrong. Other examples of things that might help range from smart tags to pet trackers.
  • Secure Your Home – It is very common for dog thieves to go after dogs that have been left in the yard on their own. To prevent this, interested individuals should make sure that outsiders don’t have an easy way to enter their yard. Furthermore, they should consider deterrents such as automatic lights, which can scare off opportunistic criminals, and security cameras, which are extra-useful when they are clearly in sight.

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