This morning, the talk turned to the epidemic of crime in purebred dogs – thieves know they are valuable. Stealing a purebred might bring a better return than stealing a car radio.
“My mother had a purebred Corgi puppy,” Mike, of Ithaca, NY, said, “that was stolen, and then returned, because she had a microchip.”
“My mother loved this puppy and it went everywhere with her. She was training it to be a farm dog. My parents live on 20 acres, some of the property on each side of the street. The dog was always running around her heels, sometimes exploring and then running back to check on her. Mom had her trained that if she comes by the third time she’s called, she gets a treat.
“She went in the house for a minute, noticed the puppy wasn’t with her, and went out and called her. Called her again. She wasn’t responding, which was very strange. Mom figured the puppy went to the hot tub to chase chipmunks or down to the coops to watch the chickens.
“She went out to look. There is a line of trees that block the view of the road. Beyond it, she heard a car door slam. She saw a big brown Chevy Suburban speed off down the road. She thought, ‘Did someone steal my dog?’ Then she shook her head, because she thought, ‘No, that can’t be what happened.’
“She called my stepdad to help her look. They could not find that puppy anywhere. She went in and called our veterinarian. He said, ‘No one brought a puppy in, but we will call the other vets around and alert them.’
“The vet said, ‘Since the puppy has a microchip, anyone who reads it will know it belongs to you.’
“After a few hours, they got a call – someone had taken the puppy to a vet, asking if it was healthy and how much it was worth! The vet got out a scanner and read the microchip. The vet said the two men who brought the puppy in were shocked to discover there was a microchip. They left immediately.
“They went to another vet, but the other vet had also been alerted and did the same thing! These guys were trying to sell the puppy. They didn’t realize that microchip technology meant the puppy could be traced.
“In the meantime, everyone in town was looking for the Suburban. Mom had notices up everywhere, including on Craigslist, with a picture of her Corgi and a brown Suburban, saying, ‘Men in this car stole my dog, if you see them, please call the police.’
“The sheriff came out and took a report, but he said, ‘There isn’t much we can do. There are lots of purebred dogs getting stolen these days.’
“The next day, there’s a knock on the door, and there are two rednecks. The brown Suburban is in the driveway. They said they saw the dog and thought it was lost. They said they took it to a vet but he wasn’t able to read the microchip so they went to a shelter and had the microchip read and that was how they found who owned it. That was their story.
“They obviously wanted a reward but mom didn’t give them one! They stole the dog and were going to keep it or sell it. But they couldn’t because of the chip. She got the license plate number and called the sheriff, but she didn’t press charges. She was just so happy to have her dog back.”
The story took place in Ballston Spa, New York, but it could happen anywhere. That’s why all my dogs are microchipped. Yours should be, too.
SNOOPY GOES SHOPPING: My tip regarding microchips: register with American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery program. They register the chip for life for $20. That’s one twenty-dollar payment for the animal’s life. Other registries charge as much as $20/year. My experience with CAR has been positive. They responded instantly to phone calls about lost dogs. Their microchip delivery system is very efficient. My vet, Dr. Batts, chips the puppies and most don’t even yelp. www.akccar.org