It's Not Just Kids: Pet Safety Paranoia Is a Thing, Too

Much ado about pet kidnappers.

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Lisa Wiedmeier

What's next? Missing pet pictures on milk cartons?

As if we weren't already consumed with fear when it comes to our kids, now the pet industry wants in. There's big money in making us believe we need to monitor our kids' every move and guard against kidnapping, and Big Pet can smell it. Hence, this press release I got:

Valentine's Day is also PET THEFT AWARENESS DAY: [LS: I hope you celebrated!] Here's how to protect your pet, and your heart, from theft.

Imagine how your heart would break if your pet were to go missing — you'd call the neighbors, you'd post "Missing Pet" signs, and when your fur baby doesn't show up, you'd start to fear the worst has happened.

Sadly, pet theft is an ever-increasing problem in the U.S.  Current estimates reveal that 1-in-3 pets will go missing in its lifetime.

Um, proof please? And yeah, of course pets will go missing, just like kids do. That doesn't mean they will be kidnapped. Not all temporarily missing children or pets are crime victims.

Here were the press release's suggestions:

•    A good collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft. However, since a collar can break or be pulled off, pets should have permanent identification such as microchipping and tattooing to ensure their safety.

•    NEVER allow your pet to be visible from the street.

•    NEVER leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is "just for a minute."

The advice goes on and on, and really, if you substitute "child" for "pet" you see the double helix of paranoia. Some of the ideas here were taken directly from the kid safety complex. And some will give that complex new ideas. But the basic point is this: Children and pets are always being watched by someone who can't wait to snatch them. Your job is to be on constant alert, lest you spend the rest of your days putting up, "Lost!" posters.

I especially love the idea that your pet should never be visible from the street. It's like those Facebook warnings that you should peel the family sticker off the back of your car. Because once a predator divines that you, the car-owner, have reproduced, he will know—at last!—where to find a child. All he has to do is follow you home—or wait in the parking lot.

These are the over-the-top fears that end up leading cops to arrest parents who let their kids walk outside unwatched. Pets and kids are presented as the same thing: Vulnerable cuties in constant need of supervision.

NEXT: Courthouse Won't Give In to Retired Cops Who Say Kid's 'Black Lives Matter' Art Is Hate Speech

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  1. When one sublimates the desire to have a child into pet ownership, strange things may result.

    1. Yeah, I know folks like that. It is really strange.

    2. The humanization of pets has become kind of insane lately. I’m sorry, but if my 9 year old dog who I love needs a $9,000 surgery, I’m putting him down “humanely” instead. Animals are not people.

      1. That’s the truth. I love my dog but I’m not taking out a second mortgage if she gets sick.

        1. We got a couple Michael Vicks over here.

        2. Yeah, that’s nuts. Your dog is going to die in 10-15 years. Deal with it.

          1. I think it was George Carlin who said that when you by a puppy, what you’re really purchasing is a minor life tragedy a few years down the road.

      2. When I started hearing the term “pet parents”, I knew it was a sign of the decline of something.

        They aren’t your goddamn children. You are their owner and master.

        Why the hell would you want to pretend that something that will almost certainly die before you do is your child? It’s sad enough losing a beloved pet when you consider them as what they actually are.

        1. Amen!

  2. NEVER allow your pet to be visible from the street.

    Uh, so how do you take a dog for a walk? Or do you just let it shit in the house?

    And good goddamn luck trying to keep a cat from perching in a windowsill.

    1. No one is going to steal your cat, anyway.

      1. Sometimes I wish they would still mine – if it barfs on the carpet one more time this week, I am tying a “TAKE ME” sign around its neck and putting it out on the front porch.

      2. Sometimes I wish they would still mine – if it barfs on the carpet one more time this week, I am tying a “TAKE ME” sign around its neck and putting it out on the front porch.

        1. And somebody can take the squirrelz with it!

          1. A better cat could handle those rodents for you.

        2. My in-laws had one that would literally stalk and attack their mailman on a daily basis. They released it into the wild on my father in law’s assuming that it would be coyote bait. Fucker’s been there for 3 years and is fatter than ever.

      3. Actually, there have been incidences of cat stealing for use in medical experiments/dissection (people were caught doing it when I was a kid and they may have gotten one or two of our cats in the process). Still, we’re just talking about fucking cats here. They’re not people.

        Ironically, while one or two of my cats may have been nabbed for this purpose, I spent months of my senior year in high school laboriously and meticulously dissecting a cat for my advanced bio class. One of my classmates made earrings out of her cat’s canine teeth, which was hilarious. And we liked putting cat viscera in people’s lockers.

        1. That’s weird. It’s not like it’s hard to find a cat that no one wants.

          1. True, but then again, we needed a LOT of cats for that bio class.

            Also, now I want to watch Gummo again.

  3. As long as I’m allowed to leave my dog in the back yard without a babysitter, I couldn’t give less of a damn what these people with their silly hysterics think.

    Also, try to go into someone’s yard and snatch their dog or their cat for that matter. The animal will make sure it doesn’t end well.

    1. I think that depends very much on the particular animal.

    2. With my dog it depends who you are. You’re probably fine unless you’re a squirrel or the maintenance man, her bitter enemy. (She would growl at him if she went to his house and she isn’t llike that with anyone else. He’s not allowed to exist)

      1. That’s the thing. People do steal dogs. And when they do, they generally just walk off with it. A lot of dogs are pretty happy to take a walk with anyone who acts friendly.

  4. My dog lived his life outside and untied, and LO AND BEHOLD ONE DAY HE WENT MISSING. It took me two weeks of not really looking that hard to find him living it up a about five miles away with ANOTHER FAMILY. True story.

      1. Exactly. I considered leaving him with them since they had a kid who liked him but he wanted to come home.

        Judging by his sudden shift in demeanor toward thunder I’m guessing my hilltop property suffered a close lightning strike that sent him running. A dog door to my basement for the purpose of retreat solved this problem. AND THAT FAMILY’S KID NEEDED TO LEARN LIFE AIN’T FAIR.

        1. To hide from thunder, our papillon used to go into a kitchen cabinet like the little brother in the Christmas movie about the bb gun. When a storm came, my wife would open the cabinet, she’d climb in and wait it out. More than once we’d forget she was in there for hours; you’d open the door and she’d come out like it was all perfectly natural.

    1. That’s the way you did it in the old days–you left for school, mom let the dog out. The dog returned at dinner time. No biggie. Our farm dog would be gone for a day or two at a time, then come back smelly from eating some dead critter. Everybody knew the neighborhood dogs.

  5. Shark suits and dog boots are why animals go missing.

    1. Get a load of Cruella De Vil over here.

      1. Mr. Burns leaped to mind for me. I will now sing “See My Vest” to myself all day.

        1. I’ll bet it’s made of real gorilla chest. “See my loafers? Former gophers!”

    2. Where I live all pet disappearances are coyote based. Had one in my back yard chasing the rabbits around the other day.

      1. Same here – the outdoor cats have been thinned out, and a couple of tiny yapper dogs got et too.

        1. a couple of tiny yapper dogs got et too.

          And nothing of value was lost.

      2. Coyotes and Fishers take care of making the cats go missing around here.

  6. I dare anyone to take my cats. Just give me a sixty-second heads-up, so I can grab a cold drink and sit somewhere with a good view of the action.

    1. Murderous bitch on my front porch has been chilling for 16 years on the roof of her little house. Hates every single person but me. Hates the offspring. Hates the wife. Hates the friends. Hates the extended family. Hates everyone. I really do wish this wasn’t so. A measure of feline kindness would be nice from time to time.

      Some hateful weirdos tossed her from a van when she was tiny and I took her in and let her be the bad ass kitty of the woods much to the chagrin of all living creatures under half a pound- the blood, guts, and organs of which many have been casually spilled and dumped on the fucking welcome mat.

      Catnabbers stand a better chance stealing an actual lioness so, yea, we share commonality on this one to be sure.

      1. Our cat was like that. We called her our trailer park bitch–she got knocked up her first heat, had the kittens, then got knocked up again and had to have an abortion along with her spaying. She was 6 pounds but punched up, bringing back even adult rabbits. Only like my mom, and claimed a chair that nobody else could sit in.

        1. I’ve got a cat like that. She weighs all of 6 or 7 lbs and has a bell on her collar, but she catches more and bigger prey (adult rabbits, squirrels, doves, snakes, etc.) than the 12 lb (declawed) cat and the 11 lb bruiser of a kitten (he’s 10 months old and still has 10 months of growing left to do… I had to cut his collar off of him today because it went from 3-fingers loose to uncomfortably tight in 2 weeks).

          Some female cats are really fucking good at catching and killing things.

          1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure my tortie sisters (combined weight 11 pounds) could bring down an elk if they had a mind to. I would love to see someone else try to pick them up.

            1. I miss my tortie cat. She was imprinted on me and had a taste for beer. She never liked my wife (the competitor) and despised her dogs (the idiots who yell loudly).

      2. Agile, please tell me you actually named your cat “Murderous Bitch”.

    2. Same here. Mine have built-in weapons and a bad attitude toward strangers.

    3. My dumbass friendly cats would probably go with the kidnapper like it weren’t even a thing. HEY, YOU GOT ANY TUNA CANS OVER THERE

  7. I guess,sending my lab for a goose or duck out in the Ohio River in January would be a bad thing also? All the places my dogs have been over the years would whiten their hair.One dove under the river bank to retrieve a grouse once, off a 6 foot drop.Heidi was a great dog.

    1. And hunting dogs take a beating,cut,thorns ice,ect.

      1. Also, you let you let your sweet hounds type your comments while they hunt. You forgot that one, bro. 😉

  8. Wait — there are people who kidnap dogs? Where do I find one of these angels?

    1. Where do I find one of these angels?

      Little Korea?

        1. If they could get away with it, the NRDC would do to people what PETA does to animals.

      1. I shit you not, there is a Chinese restaurant smack dab across the street from the shelter where I got my dog.

        1. That’s when you know the “Eat Local” movement has gone too far.

  9. I used to make fun of people like this.

    Then, last week, our cat starting acting really ill. It turns out they swallowed something and she needed surgery to remove it, but before we figured that out we were running through all these scenarios where she could have some terrible disease, a genetic condition, a brain tumor.

    For a week and a half I turned into an obsessed worry-wart. I expressed feelings, in public. But what can I say, I love that cat.

    It made me realize I’ll probably be a terrible parent that cares way too much about my kids.

    Side note: don’t be afraid to demand something from your vet/doctor. We could have saved a lot of money, time, and stress if we had insisted on a simple X-ray immediately.

    1. My perfectly healthy and loved cat suddenly developed the habit of pissing on the bathroom rug. I was unable to break him of this habit. A .22 eventually solved the pissing problem and a newly acquired cat proved just as lovable.

  10. Taking one of my cat’s is totally Ransom of Red Chief territory.

  11. ? A good collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft. However, since a collar can break or be pulled off, pets should have permanent identification such as microchipping and tattooing to ensure their safety.

    ? NEVER allow your pet to be visible from the street.

    ? NEVER leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is “just for a minute.”

    Maybe instead of giving us all these safety tips, they can instead teach men not to steal pets.

    1. Winner

    2. If you see someone looking at, patting, or whistling at, your pet call 911! That old lady at the park who comes over and tells you how cute your shi tzu is is just grooming Rover for her Petophile ring!

    3. This is all just contributing to the rape-culture petnapping-culture of victim-shaming! /sarc/

  12. I was “missing” once when I was about 3. Cops found me napping in my own bedroom, apparently.

    1. I ran away when I was three because I got pissed about something. The cops found me on a busy roads on my big wheel, brought me home. That’s when I started hating the man. I was almost out!

  13. I had a cat once. I caught him sneaking into the catnip and I warned him, I warned him. I made him watch Nancy Reagan’s PSAs, I lectured him, even held an intervention to get him to see how much we cared about him and how much he was hurting us. But to no avail. He started hanging out with a bad crowd, staying out all hours, coming home reeking of Friskies Treets, hissing at me and stalking off when I tried talking to him about his problem. I locked up the catnip, kept an ear out for him trying to get at it, when I’d catch him he’d pretend he was getting some milk or chasing a dust bunny or looking for a chew toy. But I knew better, I knew it was the monkey on his back. The worst thing is that when I contacted the local drug abuse center, they told me their services were for humans only – there are no publicly-funded treatment centers for cats.

    I tolerated it as best I could, even knowing I was enabling him, but one day I caught him with a baggie-full of catnip – and he was giving it to some of the littler kittens to try. I knew then that, much as I loved him, I could not allow him to harm the others and I would have to stop this. With a heavy heart, I packaged him up in a pet carrier and mailed him to Michael Moore. I still think of Mr. Whiskers, wishing there was more we as a society would have done to save him. But at this point, all I can hope is that Mr. Moore found him delicious and Mr. Whiskers found some peace. God speed, Mr. Whiskers, God speed.

    1. He learned it from watching you, Dad.

  14. And I’m sure the Hamburglar is just waiting around the corner to steal my 11-year-old stinky-ass pug.

  15. If you’re giving away free puppies, refusing to give them to Koreans is racist–no matter how many they want.

    That’s called “public accommodation”, and puppies hate it.

    *woof* *woof*

  16. I’m not gonna lie, I judge people who use the term “furbabies” more harshly than Bernie supporters and vegans combined.

    Nothing screams “my parents didn’t love me” like developing a codependent relationship with an animal that drinks out of the toilet.

    We have a dog that’s going through health issues right now. He’s on 4 medications to get his heart beating right, and, frankly, it’s not working. He probably has 1 to 3 months left. However, we aren’t spending money to get him open heart surgery or other expensive means to extend his life. We are, instead, giving him the best quality of life we can, and we’re saying our goodbyes.

    It’ll be rough on my wife (that dog was all she had during a rough part of her life), but we will grieve and move on. It would be much harder if the dog was filling the role of child for us.

  17. While the stuff detailed in this article goes ridiculously overboard, pet theft does occur. In the country you’ve got assholes looking to build seasonal packs for deer and bear running. In the city you’ve got assholes looking to steal particular breeds for baiting or fighting. Nothing that can’t be protected the same way you protect the rest of your valuables though: .45 ACP.

    1. There are people who will steal them to make some easy cash.

      Steal old ladies’ cat. Wait for reward sign. Cash in.

      1. +7 Psychopaths

  18. I have a GSD with a pedigree. Her lineage can be traced uninterrupted via her father (and his father and his father…) to one on of the dozen male dogs that established the breed in 19th century Germany. She was bred to herd sheep. And it unmistakably shows. Beautiful animal. Cuts corners like a border collie.

    I live in the ghetto. Dog-fighting is big money here. When she was a pup, we would get followed by shady folks in cars. On one occasion, a car with several people pulled up to us and one of the women was suggesting to her boyfriend that he steal her. She was only eight months old at the time and it’s possible that he could have pulled it off, but he knew it wouldn’t be easy and opted not to risk it.

    She’s three-years-old now and weighs about 80 pounds, so only a moron with a death-wish would try to nab her, but clearly, there are people out there looking to steal dogs.

    If you read any James Lafond, Baltimore’s violence guy, you will learn that if you are in the ghetto and see a sign on a post about a missing dog, it was more than likely stolen by dog-fighters and used as a bait dog.

    1. How does one qualify to include “Violence Guy” on a business card? Asking for a friend.

      1. I would guess that living in Baltimore is enough to qualify.

  19. I’ve had golden retrievers for decades now. I’ll just say this about “pet theft”:

    My dog had a buried electric fence keeping her in my property. Anyone who cares to could steal her right now.

    There’s one big problem with that. I’m a former Marine who’s armed to the teeth and love that dog irrationally. If you steal my dog, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.

    Also, it helps that I live in a rural area where theft is uncommon as shooting the idiot is way faster than calling anyone…

    1. Also, it helps that I live in a rural area

      That’s the thing. In rural areas, one need not steal someone else’s dog as there are a billion strays wandering the lands.

      1. But, why would you? You can adopt one at any shelter for nothing and they’re going to be in better shape than the stray, right?

        Some do take pets for cash, or for other nefarious purposes. My strategy is to “speak softly and carry a big stick”. No-one has asked to be hit with it yet, so everyone is better off.

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    1. Come on spambot, haven’t you been reading this post? Apparently there’s better money to be made by stealing pets. You’ll be driving that new Honda just like your brother-in-law’s friend’s in no time!

  21. Lucky, our silver poodle on the small side for a miniature, was probably stolen from our front yard while I was reading a newspaper in the back. He was 11 YO w cardiomegaly, but Daddy thought maybe someone came by thinking he was a puppy. He was very friendly & submissive, & probably happy in his new home. Maybe he’d occasionally wonder where we were, but I don’t think they’re as uncomfortable as cats about new surroundings.

  22. Sadly, pet theft is an ever-increasing problem in the U.S. Current estimates reveal that 1-in-3 pets will go missing in its lifetime.

    Missing pet theft

    1. stupid hypertext markup …

      Missing is not equal to pet theft.

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