FLED says they have noticed a spike in dog thefts in recent years

FLED says they have noticed a spike in dog thefts in recent years
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WATCH: As recently as this month, there was a dog stolen out of a fenced yard in Langford. Luisa Alvarez spoke to those on the front lines helping reunite owners with their missing pets and will tell you why they say there has been a spike in dog thefts. 

A faded missing poster of Bjorn is still up nearly a year after the 10-year-old Samoyed went missing from his home in the Highlands.

“He always stayed close to his family and to have him suddenly disappear it makes no sense,” said his owner Andrew Lemon.

After thoroughly searching the area and even having a cadaver dog search the property, Lemon is convinced he was stolen.

“He literally disappeared with no trace that leads me to suspect human involvement,” said Lemon.

Lemon said Bjorn’s was friendly and there were other odd scenarios he witnessed that would point to a theft.

“I’ve found people in the morning parked on our driveway getting out of their car to actually start walking up to look and then they scoot back into their car and leave and things like that, so there have been instances where I think people have been watching,” said Lemon.

Gary Shade, co-owner of FLED, an organization that helps reunite owners with missing pets, helped with the search for Bjorn and he says he has seen a spike in thefts.

“In the last couple of years yeah, there has been quite the rise in dog thefts,” said Shade.

To their owners, dogs are priceless companions but to someone else, they can be worth a pretty penny.

“There was a couple in Saanich a couple of years ago that lost their blue nose pitbull and the next day they saw it on Craigslist for $800 dollars,” said Shade.

Just this month Lily, a bluetick hound, was stolen in Langford right out of a fenced yard late at night. Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, said there are several reasons as to why someone would steal a dog.

“Potentially vigilante animal welfare if someone sees something that they feel is a neglected dog and they want to take things into their own hands,” said Moriarty.

In November, two puppies were also stolen from Langford. In 2017 a redbone coonhound was snatched out of the car at Tillicum Mall and in Saanich that same year, two dogs were taken from in front of a grocery store.

“Puppy mills, it’s a big thing and to flip the dogs for money real quick,” said Shade. 

Moriarty says it’s not a common occurrence that a dog is stolen but taking steps to keep your animal safe is important.

“Permanent identification is key. The second element would be to obviously don’t leave your animal unattended,” said Morierty.

This is recommended even in a backyard.

“If you have a backyard that is fully fenced, make sure a mouse can’t get in or out and put a security camera in your backyard,” said Shade.

It’s a step Lemon has already taken.

“If people come up our driveway, we know,” said Lemon.

While he holds out hope for Bjorn’s return with Aydis, his other dog, he’s not taking any chances.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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