How to keep your pets safe from theft
Pet theft is on the rise and a serious concern for cat and dog owners in Victoria. Here’s how to increase your pet security to keep Fido and Fluffy safe from harm.
Coming home to a missing pet is devastating – and according to statistics from the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA), more Victorian families are experiencing this loss in recent years. Domestic pet theft – such as dog theft or cat theft – in Victoria skyrocketed almost 50 per cent from 2019 to 2020, coinciding with pandemic lockdowns.
“Spending more time at home, as we did during the lockdowns, drove an increase in pet ownership – whether pets were stolen for re-sale or sold through legitimate channels,” says Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO Bambi Gordon.
As shelters emptied and breeders’ waiting lists extended indefinitely, prospective dog owners turned to more anonymous sites to purchase a pet. “Facebook doesn’t allow pets to be sold or given away,” says Gordon, “but Gumtree still allows some pet advertising.” Many of these advertisements are created by dognappers and catnappers, who burgle homes or take dogs from parks and outside shops to turn a quick profit. Other stolen pets are kept as breeding dogs in puppy mills. “Those targeted tend to be pure-breds of fashionable cross-breeds,” says Gordon.
When it comes to pets, Victorian households lost a total of $480,159 in 2022 (year ending March), according to the CSA. With one Victorian home burgled every 20 minutes, there is plenty of opportunity for innocent dogs and cats to be stolen and resold. To help you avoid losing your cat or dog to burglars, here are the top ways to increase your pet security.