LCA urges all human caretakers to take steps to protect their dogs, cats and other companion animals from theft.

Each year, countless companion animals are stolen from yards, cars, and public areas or fraudulently obtained through “free to good home” ads.  Many of these stolen pets are forced to breed in puppy mills, used as dogfight training bait or resold in a practice called “pet flipping.”

In the past, most stolen pets were sold for medical research by Class B dealers, but due to a new law effective in 2016, they will finally be out of business. LCA’s undercover investigations played an integral part in this success; go to for more info.

Follow the tips below to protect your own beloved companion animal. And please share this information. It just might save a dog or cat’s life.

Pet Theft DOs and DON’Ts


  • DO educate family, friends and neighbors about pet theft, especially each year on Feb. 14th – Valentine’s Day – Pet Theft Awareness Day.
  • DO keep your dog indoors, especially when you’re not home. Outdoor dogs should be kept safely behind a locked gate.
  • DO walk your dog on a leash.
  • DO keep cats strictly indoors. Indoor cats live safer, longer, healthier lives.
  • DO provide your pets with collars, I.D. tags, and licenses. Speak with your veterinarian about tattooing and microchipping.
  • DO report suspicious neighborhood activities and/or missing companion animals to the police and animal control.
  • DO keep recent photos of companion animals.
  • DO spay and neuter your companion animals. Fixed animals are less likely to stray.


  • DON’T leave companion animals unattended in your yard. It only takes a few seconds for thieves to take them.
  • DON’T tie your dog up outside of restaurants, coffee shops or stores, and never leave any animal unattended in a car.
  • DON’T allow your dog to be visible from the street.
  • DON’T use “free to good home” ads to place your companion animal. If you can no longer care for your pet, contact the local humane society or animal rescue for help.

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Pet Theft Awareness Day

On February 14th of every year, LCA observes Pet Theft Awareness Day (PTAD) by educating the public about the dangers of pet theft with the help of individuals and other animal organizations throughout the United States. On this day, please help spread awareness by sharing this page on social media and educating others on how to keep their animals safe from theft.

LCA has made great strides in stopping pet theft by investigating and exposing Class B animal dealers, who sell “random source” dogs and cats — many of whom are stolen — to medical research for cruel experiments. LCA’s work exposing B dealers was chronicled in the Emmy-nominated HBO special Dealing Dogs, and helped lead to a ban by the NIH on funding for medical research on dogs and cats obtained from B dealers, as well as ban by Congress for funding of licenses for B dealers. Due to Congress’ decision, the last remaining B dealers will be forced to go out of business in 2016.

See how LCA helped end Class B animal dealers, who sell stolen pets to research. 

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