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What to Do if Your Pet is Stolen

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 1 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Pet Stolen Search Poster Dog Micro Chip

To lose a pet at any time is distressing but to have one stolen is heart breaking. Not knowing where your family’s beloved pet is and wondering why it was taken can take a person to hell and back. By being prepared for this stressful situation if it should ever happen, and knowing what to do could save your pet’s life and see him home once more where he belongs.

Micro Chip

Before too long it will be law in the UK that every dog must be micro chipped. These small implants under the skin in the neck area contain information personal to each pet. When scanned the animal will be reunited with its rightful owner which is a godsend for both owner and pet.

However, there are still problems with the implants migrating causing health problems and in some instances death of the pet. An alternative for some people wanting to permanently mark their pets has been the tattoo. We will have to wait to see if new legislation will allow this form of identification to continue.

Another problem with micro chips has been that when lost or stolen pets are handed in to police and other organisations the animals are not scanned.There are also requests from many pet communities for every pet to be scanned as routine when they visit a veterinary surgery for identity purposes.


The moment you realise that you pet has been stolen you must notify the police. Even though your pet is a living breathing animal it is still classed as personal property. Ask for a crime number if it is not freely given as this will help any follow up calls to the police and for insurance purposes.

Print posters on A4 sized paper giving a description of the animal and when it was last seen. Be careful when offering a reward as many pets are stolen and then held to ransom for a reward. Contact local vets, dog wardens, pet shops, dog shows and animal boarding kennels and sanctuaries – in fact any place that has the remotest link with animals. Give them a copy of your poster and ring back every few days.

Staff changes can mean your pet has been taken in or seen and you are not linked with the find. Keep local newspapers, radio stations and regional television up to date with the theft – to them it is news especially if your loss is not the only one in the neighbourhood – to you it could mean finding your much loved family friend. There are also online search groups such as doglost.com who will network your loss and provide much needed support during the long hours ahead.


Put your homemade posters inside plastic sleeves and attach them to every lamppost and wall in the area of the loss. Pubs, supermarkets, shops and petrol stations are also great places to poster as so many people visit them. Keep an eye on the area as it is known for local council employees to remove the posters. Ask friends and family to place posters on their cars as they are moving adverts of your loss. Have your children help put up posters. They will be upset at the theft and by helping will mean they feel they are doing something to bring home their pet.

Be Prepared

Be aware that your pet can be lost or stolen at any time and keep up to date photographs for publicity purposes. By having these on your computer they can be printed off and on posters within minutes of the theft or loss. Photographs can also be sent quickly by email to others helping in your search and also to local newspapers.


If you hear that your pet is being held or that someone has news of it so not be tempted to go in to rescue him. Notify the police and if they are not prepared to follow the line of enquiry notify the local press who will follow up the story – many pets have been recovered this way. If you do end up going in to recover your pet never go alone!

Good News

Many stolen pets are recovered so when your pet arrives home remember to share the good news with every person, organisation and business that helped in your search. Finally go out and take down all the posters and share your happiness with all that ask why they are being removed.

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