COLUMBUS, Ohio - It is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, but it is something not many families even consider.
However, the American Kennel Club says dognapping is up 32 percent, and only a fraction of the pets are being reunited with their owners.
Experts say dogs are stolen to either be re-sold on the Internet, or are used for dogfighting or at puppy mills as breeders.
The most targeted breeds are as follows:
- Yorkshire Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Boston Terrier
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull.
Now, a non-profit group is helping pet owners find their pets faster.
PetFBI covers the entire country and allows pet owners to search through lost and found pets.
However, it is always best to prevent your dog from being stolen in the first place.
Experts suggest getting your pets spayed or neutered, microchipping them or getting a tattoo, and even purchasing a new pet GPS monitor.
Other suggestions include the following:
- You should have a good quality photograph of your pet showing any distinctive characteristics he or she may have
- Never leave your pet unattended
- Never place a "free to good home' ad
- Keep good documentation like veterinary bills, dog licenses and copies of ownership papers
- Remember that pet theft is widespread and not confined to "bad" neighborhoods.