According to a recent article of USA Today, the number of dogs being stolen has risen dramatically in 2011.
Stealing dogs with the intention of demanding a ransom from the owner is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the first ever dognapping case was recorded in 1934. The stolen Boston Terrier was returned to its owner after 5 long months so the story had a happy ending.
Dogs become part of our families. They will be just like a small brother or sister to the kids. And when they are kidnapped and there is a chance that money can buy them back, we pay gladly – provided that we have the money demanded, that is.
Over time, as conformation showing became more popular, show dogs became the targets of thieves. It's easy to see that if the owner of a regular dog is willing to pay thousands of dollars in ransom, the owner of a valuable show dog might pay tens of thousands of dollars to get his pooch back.
Dognapping – not only for ransom but reselling, experiments and a number of other purposes – has become widespread in the United States by the 60’s. So much so that it had actually become one of the most talked about issues of the time. The public dismay and the floods of letters demanding something to be done put enormous pressure on the senate. As a result, the “Dognapping Law”, which became the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 was born.