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Dognapping is the practice of stealing someone's pet dog for any reason. There are a lot of motives for this kind of crime, including everything from profit to the simple desire to own another person's pet. Many experts recommend that people keep their dogs inside when they leave the house and avoid letting their dogs run free if they want to prevent dognapping.
There are many methods of dognapping used by criminals. For example, some of them might simply walk into a person's yard and pick up the dog. This is especially easy to do when the dogs are small enough to grab without being a danger to the thief, and this is one of the reasons why smaller breeds are often targeted. In other cases, the thieves might drug the dog if it is larger and harder to handle.
One of the possible reasons for some cases of dognapping is animal experimentation. Some people are licensed to sell dogs for scientific experiments without having to explain exactly how they got the dogs. There is some controversy about the frequency of these kinds of dognapping cases, but many animal rights groups have suggested that it's very common.
Another common reason for dognapping is to use dogs in sport fighting. Sometimes the dognappers will look for specific breeds that they can sell to dogfighters such as pit bulls. In other cases, they might take any dog that looks large enough to be used for training other fighting dogs.
Sometimes people steal dogs to sell them to other people as pets. In these cases, they will usually be looking for purebred animals. One problem with this approach is the thieves don't often have the right paperwork to sell the dogs at full price, so they might have to sell them at a major discount. There are also people who actually steal dogs for purely personal reasons. For example, the person might simply want the dog for himself, or he might be stealing it in an effort to protect it from an abusive owner.
In order to protect themselves from dognapping, many people rely on a fenced-in yard, but that isn't always enough. If a dognapper is serious enough, he might be willing to climb a fence when the owner isn't home. For this reason, many people totally avoid ever leaving their dogs outside unless there is somebody present to keep an eye on things.