“Our best is much more effective than most people may realize.”
Around Arizona, particularly in the greater Phoenix area, there are certain crimes that seem to be becoming more widespread, prevalent, and troubling to pet owners (Most specifically, dog owners!). These crimes involve criminals trespassing on citizen’s properties, entering their backyards, unannounced, and even breaking into their homes to take the pets of homeowners. The worst thing about these crimes is the potential for extreme, life-threatening, danger to our animals. Some of these thieves take our animals to sell them for a quick buck or even hold them for ransom. However, the potential for our dogs and other animals to become used as bait to train fighting-dogs is very real and terrifying. These crimes also involve severe emotional trauma to pet owners and their children, who love them very much. As a pet professional, I feel it is my duty to discuss this and help pets and their owners remain safe in any way I can.
So, what can we do, as pet owners, to protect our pets from such horrible crimes? How can we prevent ourselves from being in such a horrible situation? Before we can discuss strategies and tactics, I think it is important to understand the mindset of the individuals who commit these crimes. Of course, if these crimes are to be completely stopped, psychological issues, societal issues, financial issues, and education all need to play a part. This is an extremely difficult problem to work out which has had controversy that may never be solved. However, if we can use the same tactics that criminals use to manipulate the situation into their favor, we as pet parents and homeowners can spin the table and claim the upper-hand!
The individuals who create these crimes obviously don’t want conflict. They, more often than not, wait until they can perform their operation under the cover of some aspect that won’t allow them to be detected. They may study your habits; When you leave your home, when you return, how long you are gone, if anyone visits your home during the day, is your dog outside, etc… There is also the individual who may just be driving or walking by, see you leave your home, and assume they have an opportunity to perform the crime and act on impulse.
What comes to mind when I think of these aspects is the intent these criminals have on not being seen. So, the first and obvious thing to address is things around your home that may provide cover. Are there trees and bushes around your home? Are these trees and bushes providing cover for people entering your back yard? Is there an ally behind your home? Are your doors visible from the road outside your house?
The next thing that comes to mind is that the criminals want the theft to be as quick as possible. So, if there is any hint of difficulty during the process, the odds will be that they will avoid your home and select an easier target.
Knowing these elements, we can now make a plan to reduce the risk of our pets being taken from our homes. First thing we need to make clear to potential thieves is that everything they do will not go unnoticed and they won’t be able to hide. So, to make this happen we need to make all possible entrances into your home visible. Removing trees and bushes that are blocking lines of sight to gates, doors, walls, and fences are an ideal first step. Remember, we want to make sure that others can see them acting out.
If you are financially able to afford it, security cameras, looking over the entire outside perimeter of your home, would be ideal, especially in areas that are blocking the line-of-sight to the road, people passing by, and neighbors. I would also recommend putting up signs, letting the potential thieves know that they are being watched. If they see these signs, it presents an obvious sign of difficulty. This is exactly what we want. We want to make sure that they understand that your home will not be an easy target and the risk of them getting caught is not worth their reward. I would also think about investing in a security system that has an alarm and lets authorities know immediately when it alarms.
Another key consideration that I recommend is to keep your dog inside your home and, if need-be, in a kennel. Many people like use doggy-doors and allow their dog to come in and out, as they please, during the day. I understand that they want their dog to be able to use the bathroom during the day because they may be gone for a while. I understand the reasoning. However, the risk of your dog being stolen is increasing and the reward is not being favored.
So, if you were to kennel your dog, how can you make sure your dog is offered bathroom breaks and enough exercise? That’s where the pet sitters and dog walkers of Fur Heart Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, LLC can come in handy. We can come over and pet sit, one or more times, during the day. We can let your dog out to go to the bathroom, play with them, and even take them on dog-walks if you wish. This option can be extremely beneficial to pet owners, allowing them let go of their worry that someone might take their pets.
Of course, none of these tactics can remove the entire possibility of thieves breaking into your home and taking your pets. However, we are simply trying to reduce the risk by making it clear to thieves that their reward will not be worth the risk. All we can do is the best we can! Our best is much more effective than most people may realize.