NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Around 2 million dogs are stolen each year according to the American Kennel Club website, which highlights the importance of pet owners knowing how to protect against dog theft.

Dog thieves are known to wait in public areas for the opportunity to steal nearby dogs, steal dogs left outside shops and inside cars, and even snatch dogs while they are being walked. According to, thieves may steal animals and wait for a sizeable reward to be posted, sell the pet to puppy mills or to research institutions for testing, or use them as “bait dogs” which are used to train fighting dogs among other options.

The organizations warn that although purebred dogs are often dog targets, every dog and breed has a value whether it’s resale, ransom, breeding, or baiting. For this reason, it’s critical that all pet owners understand how to protect their pets.

To avoid their pets from being a victim to thieves, they are advised to never leave their dog alone outside, even on their own property. Owners should also supervise when young children or an elderly person is walking their dog so make sure they don’t become a target.

Pet owners are also advised to get their pets microchipped so that if thieves attempt to resell or take the dog to a vet, the veterinarian will be able to identify the true owners of the animal. If their dog is stolen, owners should immediately report the theft to the police, call their microchip company, and do what they can to notify the community of what happened.