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Pet Theft Awareness Day 2024

Who could love this sweetie?  (Anyone!)  And who's heart would be broken if this sweetie were stolen?
Who could love this sweetie? (Anyone!) And who's heart would be broken if this sweetie were stolen?

     This coming week many folks will celebrate Valentine’s Day, a time to express our love and affection for those who are dear to us.  You may give or get Valentine flowers, candy, a card or a gift.  About one-third of pet owners admit they do something extra for their furry friends on Valentine’s Day.  They might schedule an outing at the park, or extra play time, maybe even a new toy or special treats.  (Just make sure it’s a pet-safe treat – no chocolate or artificial sweeteners.)

     Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day is also Pet Theft Awareness Day, because having a pet stolen can break your heart.  One statistic indicates more than two million pets are stolen every year.  So how can you keep your furry friend from becoming part of that statistic?

     Begin by having your pet microchipped.  That is a permanent way to prove it’s your pet.  Dogs should also wear collars with ID tags; if your contact information changes, have new tags made.  Do not leave your pet outside unsupervised.  If it must be outdoors without you, use an enclosure that is well-secured to prevent unauthorized access.  Never leave your furry friend alone in any public place, (like tied up outside a storefront) even for a few minutes. 

     If your pet is missing, check with your neighbors, and visit the local shelter.  Call the police.  Also put up “lost” posters, with a good picture of your pet. That’s a great reason to have some really good photos of your pet from various angles; it will help others to recognize your buddy. And – spay or neuter your furry friend; it will be less likely to stray, and it will be less attractive to someone who wants it for breeding purposes.

     We install alarms, lock our doors and secure our sensitive information with passwords.  Pet theft is not something we like to think about, but take a few precautions to protect your furry friend in two ways, by keeping it from being stolen and doing what you can to make sure it comes back home, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.