Neighbor Stole My Dog (Do This to Get Your Dog Back)

Neighbor Stole My Dog

Your whole world might suddenly come crashing down when you realize your pet has been stolen; and the fact that it was your neighbor who stole it is even worse. If you think your neighbor stole your dog you need to act immediately.

If your neighbor steals your dog, contact the police as soon as you can by dialing 911. Let them know that you know that your neighbor stole your dog. They will contact the animal control department and have them look into the situation.

But don’t stop there. There is so much more you need to do to get your dog back into your family’s possession. We have let you know everything you need to do, what you should do first, and how you can prevent this from happening again in the future. 

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Having an outdoor security camera, like the Blink Outdoor Wireless & Weather Resistant HD Security Cameras, can not only ease your worries but can also deter thieves or catch them in the act so you can reunite with your dog faster. 

The security footage will act as full-proof evidence to turn into the police once you notice your dog has been stolen. Just make sure that every inch of your yard is being captured by the cameras.

What To Do if You Think Your Neighbor Stole Your Dog?

If you have a strong suspicion that you think your neighbor stole your dog, you should contact the police immediately. Most police departments have an animal control officer who is specialized in these matters. The officer will likely confront your neighbor as soon as they can.

A neighbor who steals a dog is likely someone who you don’t want to deal with directly. There’s a small chance that they will actually confess they stole your dog, so it’s best if you leave this matter to the police.

Stealing a dog is a crime so the police will take it seriously. This is also the best strategy if you want to get your dog back as soon as possible. 

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Dog?

Once you rule out the possibility that your dog ran away and you are now certain that someone stole your dog, there are a few steps you should initially take. You should first contact the police who will get in touch with their animal control department.

This is important in case the animal control department gets any tips for suspicious dog activities happening in your area. 

If the animal control department is aware of your situation, they will be able to keep an extra eye out for your missing dog. The next thing you should do is spread awareness.

Here are some ways you can spread awareness:

  • Put up flyers of your missing dog and even offer a reward 
  • Post on social media, contact your local newspaper, and even the local radio. 
  • Contact animal shelters and vets in case someone returns your dog or your dog is found

With the help of your community, hopefully, your dog will be returned or found.

Also, if you live near a major airport or land border, you can ask the police to inform the animal control department at the airport or land border to look out for anyone with your dog.

Dog smuggling across borders is a common thing so the police won’t think twice about this. 

You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if a Neighbor Tried to Poison Your Dog

What To Do if You Know Who Stole Your Dog?

Contact the police immediately if you know who stole your dog. If you go to the dognapper yourself, it’s possible that they will deny the accusations and then move the dog, which will make it more difficult to find. 

Therefore, contact the police. They will visit the dognapper themselves. The police are trained in reading body behavior so they will have a good idea if the dognapper is lying.

However, if the dognapper does lie, there is nothing more the police can do, but, this is good evidence for you to bring to court, which will be your next step.

You can contact a lawyer and let them know you know who stole your dog and you know that they are lying. The lawyer may suggest a “claim and delivery” lawsuit.

This means that if you can legally claim the dog is yours then the dognapper will be served with this lawsuit and forced to go to court. This may either scare the dognapper so much that they give your dog back or they may fight.

If they fight, there’s a good chance they will lose. So, this may be your best bet at this point. 

How To Report a Stolen Dog?

You should call the police to report a stolen dog. They will ask you to fill out a police report regarding where and when your dog was stolen and if you have any idea who could have stolen it. The police will also inform local animal control officers.

The police and animal control officers will keep an eye out for your stolen dog. You can also ask them to inform any border control officers if you live near a land border or a major airport.

Reporting your stolen dog to the police will also help you in the future if you ever need evidence in court. 

Someone Stole My Dog and Won’t Give It Back

You should file a police report immediately against this person. This will open an investigation and help you build a case with a lawyer if you want to go that route, which may be your last hope in this situation.

Claiming a stolen dog as yours has to go through the same process as anything else that is stolen. You will need to gather all the evidence you have that claims you have ownership of your dog.

This can be adoption papers, a receipt from the breeder if you bought your dog, microchip registry information, photos, and people who know you and your dog to write a statement.

You will then be able to file a lawsuit and the person who has your dog will be served and forced to go to court.

In the meantime, you can spread awareness of your lost dog especially around the area of the person who has your dog.

The dog cannot stay hidden indoors forever so if the people who live around the dognapper are aware of the situation, they will keep an eye out for the dog.

If the dog is ever seen, they can report the sighting to the police, which will help with your case. Most importantly, do not give up at home and remain persistent. 

Who Do I Call if My Neighbor Stole My Dog? 12pm

You should call the police immediately if your neighbor stole your dog. They will get in touch with the animal control department who will be in contact with your neighbor.

You should also contact local vets and animal shelters in case your pet is found somewhere else or runs away and someone brings it in to get checked out. 

You shouldn’t try to confront your neighbor yourself about your stolen dog. It’s likely that they will just lie to you which will get you nowhere. It’s best to act like you don’t know they have your dog and have the police deal with the situation.

Once you file a police report, an investigation will be opened and any evidence that is gained can be used in court if you get to that point.  

How Do I Get My Stolen Dog Back?

The very first thing you should do is contact the police. Let them know you have a suspicion your dog was stolen and file a police report. Although the police may not be able to do much right away, this will help you in the long run in case you ever need evidence for court.

You should then start spreading awareness within your community, putting up flyers, and offering a reward.

A reward may be enticing for the person who stole your dog. Sometimes that is why people steal dogs, to receive a reward for returning them.

Although this is a hard thing to stomach, it may be your best bet to get your furry friend back. Make sure to not specify what the reward is. 

You can also spread awareness by posting to social media, contacting your local newspaper, and your local radio station. The more awareness you have, the better.

Also, contact any dog shelters or vets in your area in case your dog ends up in one. 

You might also enjoy our post on What Happens When You Call Animal Control on a Neighbor

Can Police Help You Get Your Dog Back?

The police can play a helpful role in getting your dog back, depending on your situation. If you don’t know who stole your dog, then you shouldn’t rely too much on the police but you should still file a police report. If you know who stole your dog, then the police may be able to play a more involved role.

Regardless of your situation, you should still file a police report as soon as you think your dog has been stolen. This will allow you help from the authorities when you need it and also evidence that you may need later in court. 

Once you call the police they will contact the animal control department who will keep an extra eye out for your dog. The police will also be there if you ever need them to confront someone who you think may have your dog.

It’s best to have the police aware of the situation and on your side even if there is nothing they can do right away. It is up to you to spread awareness of your missing dog and remain persistent.

Once you have some leads, you can start to get the police more involved. 

Is It Illegal To Steal Someone Else’s Dog?

Stealing someone’s dog is, indeed, illegal. Pet theft is usually considered larceny, which is the removal of someone’s personal property. Additionally, some states have specific criminal codes for pet theft. Regardless of the criminal code, stealing someone’s pet is always considered a crime. 

Michigan, New York, and North Carolina all have specific dog theft crimes. Depending on where you live, stealing a dog is typically considered a misdemeanor.

If the dognapper harmed the dog in any way, such as not providing food and water or physically abusing, then they will be charged with harsher crimes.

Can You Press Charges if Someone Steals Your Dog?

You can absolutely press charges if someone steals your dog once you know who stole your dog, obviously, and after they return it. Stealing a dog is a crime in every state in America. Once your dog is safely returned home to you, you can let the police know you would like to press charges.

Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the police and prosecutor’s office to decide whether or not they will file charges against the dognapper, but it is worth a shot.

Pressing charges is a good way to deter the thief from stealing your dog again as they will then be aware of the consequences. 

Is Stealing an Animal a Crime?

Stealing an animal is indeed a crime in all states in America. Some states have specific dog theft crimes – such as Michigan, New York, and North Carolina – and in other states, dog theft is under the larceny criminal code, which is theft of personal possession. 

Your animals, whether that is a dog or a cat, are your personal possessions, not to mention part of your family. When someone steals your animal it can be heartbreaking and devastating, so the law has you protected.

Stealing an animal is considered a crime in every state in America and the law has your back when it comes to returning your furry friends home. 

Is Stealing a Dog Kidnapping?

Stealing a dog is not considered kidnapping. Under American criminal codes, kidnapping only refers to humans, not canines. Kidnapping has much more extreme punishments than stealing a dog. 

Depending on where you live, stealing a dog is considered dog theft or larceny. It is also typically considered a misdemeanor.

If the thief did any harm to the dog while it was in their possession, they may also be charged with animal abuse, which is also illegal in every state. 

What Happens When You Get Caught Stealing a Dog?

It is possible that you may get fined for stealing a dog if you get charged with dog theft. Stealing a dog is illegal so this is very possible. Depending on where you live, you can get fined up to $100 and or spend up to 90 days in the county jail.

Your punishment is all up to the courts, of course, and where you live, since criminal codes differ between states.

Michigan, one of the few states that have a specific dog theft criminal code, states that someone can be charged from $50 to $100 and or spend from 60 to 90 days in the county jail where they live. 

You might also enjoy our post on How to Deal With Trespassing Neighbors for Good

Is Stealing a Dog a Felony?

Stealing a dog is not considered a felony but instead a misdemeanor. This penalty is carried out through every state in America. Dog theft will be classified as a misdemeanor and the punishment will vary depending on where you live and the discretions of the court.

Typically, the punishment for stealing a dog is a fine of up to $100 and up to 90 days in county jail.

If the dog was abused in any way while in the possession of the thief, the thief may also be charged with animal abuse which is actually a felony and federal crime. 

Can You Go to Jail for Stealing a Dog?

You can spend up to 90 days in a county jail for stealing a dog. Stealing a dog is considered a misdemeanor in all states in America. A dog thief may also be fined up to $100 and charged with animal abuse if, in any way, the dog was harmed while in their possession.

Animal abuse can be anything from not feeding or giving water to the dog, not providing appropriate shelter, and physical abuse.

If you have your dog returned once it has been stolen, make sure to bring it to a vet immediately to find out if it had been harmed at all. 

Can You Go to Court Over a Dog?

You can go to court over a dog for a couple reasons. The first is that someone stole your dog and you know who has it and you want them to return your dog to you. Secondly, if you want to press charges against someone who stole your dog. 

You may find yourself in a scenario where someone stole your dog, you know who has it, and they refuse to give it back. You can file a “claim and return” lawsuit against them.

You will have to provide as much evidence as you can that you have ownership of the said dog. It is very likely that the person who stole your dog will have to return it. 

You can also go to court over a stolen dog if the police refuse to press charges against the thief once your dog is returned. You can then hire a lawyer to help you charge the dognapper and achieve justice.  

Can I Sue if Someone Stole My Dog?

You can sue someone if they stole your dog and won’t give it back. However, it may be more difficult to sue someone for stealing your dog after they have returned it. In any case, if you experienced significant effects from your dog being stolen, then it’s likely you can come up with a lawsuit.

The most common scenario for suing someone who stole your dog is when they refuse to give your dog back.

In this case, you can sue the thief for the value of your dog, not just the physical value but also the emotional value, what your dog is worth to you. Of course, this is up to the discretion of the court.

The most you can sue someone in a small claims court, in California for example, is $10,000. 

You may also be able to sue the dog thief if you had to pay any vet bills after your dog was returned. It’s possible that your dog may have gotten injured while in the hands of the thief and you had to take your dog to emergency care.

Just stepping into a vet can cost you $400, so it’s possible that you can be reimbursed by suing the thief. 

How Do You Prove a Dog Is Yours?

To prove a dog is yours you can provide adoption papers, papers from the breeder or shop where you bought your dog, vet bills, microchip information, written statements from friends and family, and photos. 

If your dog ever gets stolen, the first thing you need to do is gather any evidence you have that proves your dog is truly yours. If your dog is microchipped this is one of the best ways to prove identity.

With microchips, you will have access to your online portal, registry papers, and most importantly, your information will show up when the dog is scanned. 

If your dog is not microchipped, then you can gather all vet bills that you have, any adoption papers, or any receipts of purchase if you bought your dog.

You can also gather photos and written statements from friends and family and people in your community who know you and your dog. 

What Makes a Pet Legally Yours?

In the eyes of the law, a pet is considered your personal property, not your family. So, you will need to be able to prove ownership of your pet in specific situations. You can do this by showing registry papers, vet records, microchipping registry, and adoption or purchase records.

All of this evidence proves that your pet is legally yours. If you ever registered your pet with authorities, this is the best way of proving that your pet is legally yours since it is a legal record.

Microchipping is also a very sure way to claim ownership since your name, number, and address is linked to your dog.

If you do not have this type of evidence, you can also provide the following:

  • Vet bills
  • Adoption or purchase records
  • Any recent photos
  • Written statements from friends, family, or anyone in the community that knows the dog belongs to you. (someone at a dog training center, doggy daycare center, or even the mailman). 

Is a Dog Microchip Proof of Ownership?

A dog microchip is one of the best ways to prove ownership. Your name, phone number, and address will show up when your dog’s microchip is scanned. If you can also provide the username and password to your online microchip portal, then this will confirm your ownership.

This reason is why most people have their dog microchipped, in case a dog is ever lost. If a court is trying to prove the dog is yours, all they have to do is get the microchip scanned and your information will show up.

Also, keep in mind, it is very difficult for someone to take out a previous microchip and replace it with another one. Most microchipping companies are aware of this scenario and will report whoever is trying to do that. 

How To Recover a Stolen Pet

If you know who stole your pet, you can contact the police, let them know of the situation, and they will confront the thief. If the thief denies the accusation, then you may have to go to court to reclaim your pet.

This can be very heartbreaking to do but the police can’t really do anything if the person is claiming that they don’t have your pet.

What you should do now is gather all the evidence that you can that proves you are the rightful owner of your pet and file a lawsuit with a lawyer against the thief.

This matter will be brought to a small claims court in which you can demand that your dog be returned. You have a high chance of getting your dog back in this case.

If you don’t get your dog back, you may have grounds to sue the thief. 

Can I Steal My Dog Back

You should only steal your dog back if you have enough proof that shows you have ownership of your dog. If you don’t, it’s possible that the thief could then charge you for dog theft, as crazy as that sounds. 

However, if you have all the proof in the world that shows you have ownership of your dog, then go steal your dog back. The thief won’t be able to do anything about it.

Sometimes, waiting for the legal system to take action is not an option, as this takes too long and you are probably worried sick over your dog, so do all that you can to steal your dog back and get him back home. 

Can I Take My Dog Back From Someone?

You should only take your dog back from someone if you have evidence of legal ownership of your dog. This can be a legal registry, microchip registry, vet bills, adoption or purchase papers, and photos. 

If you don’t have any proof of legal ownership, sometimes only photos are not enough, then you shouldn’t try taking your dog back without the help of authorities.

Contact your local police station and file a police report with them. They may be able to access street cameras that show the thief coming into your property and stealing your dog, among other ways of proving that your dog was in fact stolen. 

Worst Areas for Dog Theft

The worst areas for dog theft are “bad” neighborhoods, very wealthy neighborhoods, and parking lots during busy times such as Christmas. 

Bad neighborhoods are areas where there is a lot of crime, and not just dog theft. If your neighbors are not people to be trusted, for whatever reason, then your dog has a higher chance of being stolen. 

Extremely wealthy neighborhoods are also at high risk. These neighborhoods usually have dogs living there that have a high price tag.

Peta has warned celebrity dog owners to be vigilant and cautious, as there have been cases where dogs were stolen from celebrity pet owners.

Parking lots during Christmas time is also commonplace for dogs to get stolen. Dogs tend to be left in cars when their owner quickly picks up last-minute gifts and leaves the windows open for fresh breathing air.

This is a prime target for a thief to lure the dog out with treats and then steal it. 

Ways To Prevent Your Pet From Being Stolen

To prevent your pet from being stolen, never leave it outside for long periods of time – even behind a gate -, do not leave it tied up outside a store, do not leave it unattended in a car, and do not lose sight of it while you are at a park.

Basically, you just need to be a vigilant pet owner and have your pet’s safety in mind all the time. Of course, it is not your fault if your pet gets stolen but you can implement these strategies to prevent a theft from happening. 

Do People Steal Dogs From Backyards

Unfortunately, your backyard is a commonplace attraction for dog thieves. If your dog spends most of its time in your backyard, then the dog thief will have no other choice than to steal it straight from there.

Your dog may also feel comfortable in your backyard and not on guard, making it easier for the thief to capture your dog. 

Dogs tend to trust people that are in their own space. This is why dog thieves enter your backyard in order to catch your dog off guard.

On the other hand, you also feel comfortable with your dog in your backyard since it is always there and it is private property, therefore, you aren’t really thinking that someone will trespass and steal your dog.

Dog Theft Signs

There has been an emerging trend with dog thieves in the past year. It has been noticed that dog thieves will mark a gate or fence of where a dog lives, usually an expensive purebred, by colored elastics. These elastics serve as a reminder for the thieves so they know which dog to target.

So, if you ever notice your house or somebody else’s house with a random colored elastic on their gate post or fence, let them know that they may be a target for dog theft.

You should also alert the authorities to let them know that someone might be planning a dog theft in your neighborhood. 

Related Questions

Where Do Stolen Dogs Get Sold?

Stolen dogs may be sold to people looking to buy a dog at usually at half the price of a regular purebred price. They may also be sold to research and veterinary institutions, or to a group of people engaging in dogfighting. 

It is terrible to think of your stolen dog getting sold to anyone, regardless of their intentions, so spreading awareness and contacting authorities about your stolen dog is the best course of action you should take.

Never lose hope and remain persistent. 

Can I Steal My Neighbor’s Dog?

You should never steal your neighbor’s dog. Your neighbor’s dog is part of their family and belongs with them. It is also illegal to steal a dog and you can face jail time if you get caught. 

If you suspect your neighbor’s dog is in harm, from abuse or neglect, then you can report the dog owner to the police. They will direct the animal control department to check out the situation.

Stealing the dog, though, can lead you to trouble with the law. Have the dog checked out first before you think of taking it.

If the dog is in fact in harm then you can later adopt the dog if it is taken away from its owner. 

My Dog Was Stolen and Adopted

If your dog was stolen and adopted then you should gather all the evidence you have that proves you have ownership of your dog. This can be a legal registry, microchip registry, vet bills, adoption or purchase papers, and photos.

You should gather all this evidence as soon as you can and take it to the authorities. Do not go to the new owners first. It’s possible that they personally know the thief and will inform them that you found your dog.

Let the police know that you found your dog and it’s now under new ownership. They will help you get your dog back and maybe even track down the thief. 

Final Thoughts

We sincerely hope that you have luck finding your beloved pup. Although the law treats your dog as property, we know they are your family and you will do whatever you can to get your sweet dog back.

Remember to not lose hope, involve as much as your community, and stay on top of the police and the situation in general.

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