American Kennel Club reports 30 percent increase in number of dogs stolen in US

Pet detective says some people demand money to get pets back

By Andrew Perez - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Reports of dogs stolen across the country have been on the rise in recent years.

An American Kennel Club report shows that there was a 30 percent increase in the number of dogs that were reported stolen from 2014 to 2015.

Records show 71 dogs were reported stolen in 2008 compared to 490 dogs as of Sept. 26, 2016.

South Florida has seen its fair share of stolen pets, which don't only include dogs.

"That bird has been with me for 33 years," Elbia Nasco told Local 10 News after her beloved pet was stolen outside her home in Miami. "We heard the dog barking and my husband went outside, and when he went outside, he saw the guy."

Lynn Wainman told Local 10 News that she walked into her Hollywood home on Valentine's Day to find the place had been ransacked and her dog, Daisy, was missing. 

The dog was found abandoned in North Miami Beach after her story made the news.

"In the last year and a half, I've had 14 legitimate stolen dog cases," pet detective Jamie Katz said. 

Katz is one of a handful of pet detectives who uses her dogs to find animals.

"Besides dog thefts, what is it that you see the most?" Local 10 News reporter Andrew Perez asked.

"People finding people's pets and wanting to keep them," Katz said.

"And they actually get money?" Perez said.

"Oh yeah, definitely," Katz said. 

Katz said that she's had several cases where the owner will get messages demanding money to get their dog back.

While dogs aren't the only target, they're certainly one of the more popular targets.

The American Kennel Club reported that the most popular breed for stolen dogs is Yorkshire terrier, followed by Chihuahua, bulldog and Pomeranian.

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