Pet owners and animal lovers call it “dognapping,” referring to the act of stealing (kidnapping) dogs for ransom.
“Dognapping” has been experienced by a number of dog owners in Metro Manila.
Modus operandi 1: How your dog gets stolen for ransom:
1. The “dognapper” or a person who steals dogs for ransom lurks in areas where dog owners bring their pets, either walking the dog or carrying the pet.
2. The dognapper will walk beside you, then suddenly point a knife at your side.
3. He has someone nearby with him.
4. He will ask you to hand over your dog, then ask for your cell number. Or he will also get your cellphone.
5. He will then call you (if he asked for your cell number) or call “Mama, “ “Papa,” “Kuya” or “Bro,” or “Ate” or any relative in your phone book using your cell phone. The guy will never send a message and his number will always change so you can not trace him.
6. He will ask for money in exchange for your dog.
A friend did pay ransom for her dog. A whopping
P20,000.00! She did not report to the police for fear that the “dognapper” will do as he threatened—kill her dog.
Another friend asked for time to raise P30,000.00. This made the “dognapper” suspicious and the calls suddenly stopped. To this day, she has not gotten back her dog.
The target of these “dognappers” are usually small dogs with breed.
Modus Operandi 2: The thief gets your dog right from your house or your garage.
1. “Dognappers” can be a newly-hired househelp or persons who walked along your street.
2. Both will take note of the time you leave and the time you return.
3. Some “dognapping” incidents are random. A person passes by your house and gets your dog from the garage.
4. They will never call you for ransom. They already have a buyer for the dogs they steal.
5. The dog is sold to
5.1 usually a backyard breeder who will never be informed the dog was stolen, or
5.2 to anyone who wants a dog but can pay only around P500.00 to 2,500.00, or
5.3 a dog meat trader who most likely knows the dog was stolen, or
5.4 a person who is involved in dog fighting. The dog is either used as bait for training dogs to be aggressive, or is trained to fight other dogs.
The target of these dognappers are ALL KINDS OF DOGS. Those with breed are sold to breeders. Those with no breed like asong pinoy or aspins are sold to dog meat traders or to dog fight syndicates. But big dogs with breed who can be trained to fight are also sold to syndicates.
How to keep your dog safe
You can prevent this unfortunate incident from happening.
Here are tips to keep your dog safe, while making sure you are safe too:
1. Observe your dog around a new human in your house. Trust your dog’s instinct. Your dog will never be comfortable with a human who should not be trusted.
The dog will do the following: never allow the person near him or her, will growl when the new person (househelp) goes near you, or will simply bark at the person always or continuously. A few dogs will shiver in fear. A few dogs will also bite the new person in the event the person gets near. But remember, anyone who is determined to get your dog will do anything to get your pet. It is easier for these thieves to get a small dog with breed.
2. Cameras do help but do watch the videos everyday. Not after the dog has been kidnapped.
You will know your dog’s behavior towards the new househelp when you watch the videos, or be able to monitor movements just outside your gate.
You will see if your househelp is allowing someone inside the house to handle your dog.
You will see if someone or a group of persons are always passing in front of your house, seemingly “casing” or observing movements in your property, specifically in the garage. Ask the security guard if the suspicious persons are residents of the subdivision.
In non-gated areas, do go outside your house at the time you saw the persons pass by to let them know that you have detected their presence. If you are with someone (which is best), start talking about having cameras already installed around your house and garage. This will deter them from getting your dog, hopefully.
3. Never leave your dog, specially a small dog, unattended in the garage. Most small dogs who were stolen were in the garage. The cctv footage will help recover the dog but not all dogs stolen in this manner were returned to the owner.
4. Always have your dog on a leash when outside the house. Avoid dark places or places where there are only a few people.
5. During pet events, do not leave your dog just anywhere. Allow him or her to roam but be around. Always keep your eyes on your dog.
6. Never leave your small dog in the house with no human if you can help it.
7. When you walk your dog around the subdivision or your place to poop, put him or her on a leash and walk him or her in the morning and late afternoon when there are people around who can help you. Do not just allow your dog out of the house, unsupervised.
A lot of dogs have also been posted as missing. I will discuss tips on how to prevent this and how to get back your dog in another column.
For now, please keep your dog safe. Be safe too, hooman.