Dog Theft On The Rise In Cairo

lost-dogWhile not a new phenomenon, professional dog-napping is on the rise in Cairo.  Every dog is at risk but pure bred dogs are popular and as a result more valuable.

Many dog thefts occur outside restaurants, shops, and from parked cars, where owners leave their pets briefly unattended.

Thieves are becoming bolder. Stealing dogs from homes and gardens is also not uncommon. Similarly, dogs have been snatched on walks in daylight, even in Cairo’s ‘safe’ neighbourhoods.  Men in cars or on motorbikes speed your pet away. You are on foot. You can’t stop them.

Recently, a Cairo resident let his dogs out to play in his garden.  The area is fenced and gated and he thought the animals were safe. He went inside to take care of some domestic chores.  When he came back out, Farhan, a Golden Retriever, and Marley, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, were gone.

In another recent incident, a man tied his dog up outside a Cairo café while he ran in to get coffee.  He returned moments later.  His dog too had disappeared.

Unknowingly, both men had placed their pets into high risk situations for pet theft.

We could share hundreds of similar stories but instead we want to suggest a few simple precautions that you can take to discourage dog theft.

Some things for you to consider:

Opportunity – Portability – Popularity – Price – Pedigree

Pedigree or not, if you think your animal is cute then chances are others will too.  This makes him a valuable asset to sell to the many unscrupulous pet shops all across Cairo.

So here are some simple steps to protect your dog:

  • Keep your dog leashed and by your side on the street or in any public place where you could lose sight of them. Unattended dogs left outside shops and restaurants are stolen most often.
  • Don’t ask strangers to watch your dog while you run into the corner store. This is asking for trouble.
  • If your dog exercises in your garden, be sure that the area is securely fenced with a locked gate and check on them regularly.
  • Your dog is more vulnerable at holiday times—Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day— when dogs are stolen to be sold to be resold for gifts. Use extra caution.

Earlier we mentioned high risk pet theft scenarios.  So let’s look at some…

dog-in-carDogs in cars:

In the blink of an eye, a partially opened window can be forced down or the glass smashed and the dog removed from a vehicle. It can take only 20 seconds to abduct a dog and by the time you return to your car, your dog is long gone.

Egypt’s weak economy is fuelling financially motivated dog-napping and a dog in a car is quite simply a blank cheque.

Highly prized breeds:

A purebred dog is a bit like a gold watch. Thieves see dollar signs and that’s a temptation. Dogs left unattended under any circumstances can be taken, but there is greater motivation for criminals to walk off with a dog who can bring in large sums of cash.

Pets in gardens:

Everyone loves the convenience of a dog door, especially criminals. People who let their pet explore a fenced area without supervision have the illusion of safety, but animal protection groups across Cairo will tell you that the theft of these dogs is climbing.

stolen-dog-2Pets left tied in front of businesses:

This sounds like a no-brainer, but in Cairo where people often take their pets as they shop on foot, it’s not uncommon to find dogs tied up in front of a bakery or a grocery store. Typically, these are friendly dogs making them highly susceptible to the approach of a would-be thief.

Leaving your dog tied up in front of a store is about as safe as leaving your child and saying, ‘Wait right there, I’ll be back in 10 minutes”.  There are security risks in even the safest of neighbourhoods. Being naive can make you a target.

Strangers in your home and on the street:

Strangers in your home can be a risk to your pets. Whether they are invited contractors or deliverymen, visitors could easily grab a pet when you are distracted. They can also take note of your pet and survey the surroundings to come back later when your dog is home alone or you are walking on the street.

We are seeing a growing trend of homes and cars being broken into or dog walkers assaulted in financially motivated theft.  Purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen. Any pure bred dog, particularly puppies, are considered a high-value commodity.

Sometimes overlooked are the emotionally motivated crimes that rob dogs of their families. This can happen because the perpetrator feels that a dog is not being properly cared for. Some animal lovers will feel justified in stealing a dog that is tied in front of a store on a hot day for example.

Whatever the scenario or the motivation, dog owners can best protect their dogs with watchfulness.

  • Never leave a dog unattended.
  • Secure your home and garden to the best of your ability and budget.
  • Be wary of strangers at all times.

Thieves are becoming increasingly bold and it is believed that some animals are being stolen to order.

Protect yourself.  Protect your pet.


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