PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Feb. 14 is Pet Theft Awareness Day.

Is your pet safe in your own backyard?

According to Chris DeRose, an animal activist and founder of Last Chance for Animals, millions of pets are stolen each year. And it’s a crime that is easy to pull off.

“It happens everywhere in this country, from New York to Pennsylvania to clear across to California,” says DeRose.

Pets are stolen for many reasons. They become bait in dog fights. They are stolen and held for ransom.

Recently, a Rottweiler puppy was stolen from Leechburg, Armstrong County, and sold on Craigslist for $50.

And then there are cases like Ozzie the Black Lab, who was stolen from his yard and disappeared without a trace. Investigators believe he was sold to a research laboratory.

Congressman Mike Doyle has backed a bill that would help keep stolen pets out of the hands of researchers by requiring laboratories to obtain proof of where a pet came from before they buy it.

According to Doyle, “People are going around and stealing dogs right out of people’s yards and they’re selling them for the money. That’s the part we want to stop.”

To protect your pets from thieves:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a yard, a car or tied up outside a store;
  • Don’t use ads that say “free to good home” if you are trying to place your pet or puppies. They can be taken and sold;
  • Do provide your pet with identification. A microchip can be a permanent way to keep track of your pet.

For more information visit: StolenPets.com


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