As we all know, pet ownership has increased dramatically during the pandemic as people adopted and purchased pets to keep them company in quarantine. But thieves are taking advantage of the high demand for dogs as shelters worldwide continue to have shortages. small and easy-to-grab breeds and puppies are being stolen by heartless thieves and then resold to unaware parties.
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A private investigator in Nebraska who specializes in missing pets has stated that the increase for finding stolen/missing French Bulldogs has risen 60%-70% in the last 18 months. Pets are being taken from yards, cars, the front of stores, and even on the streets when out with the owner.
One incidence happened on January 5th in San Francisco when a woman walking her dogs in the evening was approached by three men. One, who was holding a gun, punched her multiple times and the band of thieves took off with her French Bulldog but left her Shiba Inu alone. With French Bulldogs costing up to $10,000, they've become a status symbol and a favorite among celebrities and the wealthy. Adopt-a-pet.org issued an emergency alert on March 3rd after the theft of Lady Gaga's French Bulldogs left her dog walker in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.
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In the U.K., dog thefts have increased 170% from 2019 to 2020, according to DogLost, which works to reunite lost dogs with their owners. The fact that pets are seen as personal property in numerous areas just gives the thieves very little to lose even if they do get caught as it's usually deemed a misdemeanor and those with no priors may just get a small fine and slap on the wrist. It varies state by state. Such as in California, grand theft is considered anything over $950, and jail time only comes if the dog stolen has a value more than that. But in Virginia, dog theft of any kind is punishable by up to 10 years in prison no matter the monetary value of the dog.
More than 513,000 people signed a petition in the UK for new laws to recognize that dogs are not inanimate objects but government officials claimed the existing laws were sufficient and refuse to implement tougher penalties. Animal organizations are calling for stricter punishments all over to try and deter thieves with very little luck. They urge dog owners, especially those of dogs like French Bulldogs, to maintain caution when out with their dogs and not leaving them alone in public spaces.
Photo Credit: Fox 5 Atlanta
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