Tag Archives: dog theft


Last week, a 14-year old boy took his 14-week old Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, Billy, to the local dairy and tied him up outside because the dog was not allowed inside. (Dairies are ‘convenience stores’, for those of you located overseas). While the boy was inside, a man and his accomplice stole Billy.

I can only imagine the panic and heartbreak of the boy. It would be hard enough as an adult to discover your dog has been stolen.

Thankfully, the security camera at the dairy captured the theft and, probably because of the age of the boy and Billy, there was widespread public outcry, particularly on social media, to bring Billy home with the public encouraged to identify the offenders and to report sightings of Billy.

The photo of Billy was circulated widely over social media

I am pleased to report a happy ending. The NZ Police, acting on information from the public, saved Billy and we are waiting to hear if charges will be laid. Police officers also visited the boy and Billy, who received a soft toy NZ Police dog to help him recover from the ordeal (this photo was also widely circulated on social media).

This incident serves as a wake-up call to all dog parents and caregivers. It is so tempting to want to include our dogs in everyday activities and, since most of us are time poor, being able to run an errand while walking the dog seems a perfect solution.

Sadly, it isn’t. There are unscrupulous people who think it’s okay to steal dogs and many of them get away with it. They don’t necessarily treat the dogs as pets, either. Some could be abused or used as bait dogs – a totally frightening scenario for anyone who loves their dog.

I recently had someone tell me that it’s okay to tie their dog at the local supermarket because the security guard is watching. But what happens if the security guard gets called away or takes his break? How do you know that the dogs are safe outside?

I admit that over the years I have caught myself thinking I could possibly pick up takeaways and bring the dog for a walk, too. I have always stopped myself because of the risk.

Remember, it’s our job to keep our dogs safe and secure at all times. I certainly do not blame the boy – he made a mistake and he’s learnt such a hard lesson. We can all learn from Billy’s story – leave your dog at home unless you have a companion who can wait outside to supervise.

One solution, of course, would be to have more dog-friendly shops…

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The 14th of February isn’t just Valentine’s Day

February 14 is also Pet Theft Awareness Day.

If you are like me, you find it pretty heart-wrenching to see posts on Facebook and to walk by posters hanging from telephone poles pleading for information about a missing dog.

Pet theft is a reality.  And there are things you can do to prevent it.


  • Keep your dog inside, this is particularly important for the long hours when you are at work and away from home
  • Padlock gates to your section
  • Never leave your dog tied outside of a shop such as a supermarket; thieves are opportunists and they can snatch a dog that is unattended very quickly
  • Do not let your dog roam in the neighbourhood
  • Spaying or neutering your dog will discourage them from the urge to roam
  • Make sure your dog has its licence tag and identification tag on its collar; in New Zealand micro-chipping of dogs is now mandatory
  • When returning a stray animal to an owner, request proof of ownership, including photos of the animal, vet records, etc (in practice, I have not always needed to be so vigilant of this step because the dog has been SOOO excited to see its family)
  • Be aware of strangers in the neighborhood and join your local neighbourhood watch group.  It pays to keep a close eye on what is happening in your community. If you see something suspicious, snap photos with your phone, report it to the police ASAP, and let your neighbours know, too.


Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand