Finding Stolen Dogs – Immediate Actions


Finding Stolen Dogs –
Immediate Actions

hand with stopwatch urging you to find stolen dogs now

Do it NOW!

Check to make sure your dog is actually stolen. Make sure he/she is not out with a family member, in the back yard, or hiding somewhere unusual.

IMMEDIATELY call your local law enforcement agency to make a report. Do this before anything else. Unfortunately, taking reports for stolen dogs is not law enforcement’s top priority, but insist that they take a report. If they get several reports in a particular area, then that probably indicates that there is a theft ring in that area.

If your dog was stolen in an area that you think is videotaped such as a mall parking lot, go to the manager of the mall and request a copy of the tape.  If he was stolen out of your yard and you have surveillance tapes, check those.  Contact your neighbors and ask if you can look at their tapes.

Post your dog’s photo and videos on YouTube and MySpace and with an announcement that it is stolen and the particulars of the theft.

The next thing is to assemble a SEARCH TEAM. Speed is ESSENTIAL. People will help you, but they need to know that your dog is missing and what he looks like. You need to tell everybody that your dog is stolen as fast as you can – the more people that know, the sooner they know, the better your chances are of recovery. You can, of course, do this all yourself. But you likely will become overwhelmed and emotionally drained quickly.

  • Get as many people as you can to help – but you need two people to help you immediately.
    • The first person will go to the area immediately where your dog was stolen to see if there were any witnesses or suspicious activity. Give him a photo of your dog. Tell him to show it to everyone he speaks to and ask if anyone saw or heard anything unusual, including strange vehicles, work crews, people, or activities. He should get as detailed descriptions as possible and write down everything they tell him.
    • The second person will go get supplies and also copy the flyers (after you’ve filled in the specifics) and log sheets (more later).


  • Boy/Girl Scout troops
  • Breed clubs
  • Breeders
  • 4-H
  • Dog rescue organizations
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Hire people by placing ads in
    • College newspapers
  • Neighbors
  • Neighborhood children
  • Organizations that you belong to such as chamber of commerce


You are the pivot point in the search. You will assign tasks and keep track of what everyone is doing. Everyone will report to you so you can coordinate their efforts.

You will have a master map as well as log sheets. You want to make the most productive use of your time, and the log sheets are so people do not duplicate efforts and also so you have the information at your fingertips if you have to refer to it later. (Log sheets which you can duplicate are at the end of this article.) Keep the sheets in a loose leaf notebook so they don’t get misplaced.

Regarding the map:

  • Divide it into sections.
  • Assign a section to each person.
  • Start at the location where your dog was stolen and branch out from there.
  • Have each team member record every location where they hung a flyer or poster on their log sheets.

Assign a task to each team member. The tasks are to:

  • Make phone calls. For every person you call, tell them you will be sending them a flyer and then SEND it.
  • Make posters and flyers.
  • Put up flyers and posters and talk to possible witnesses and record on log sheets. (see below)
  • Send emails (see below)
  • Send faxes (see below)


Each member who is responsible for distributing flyers and/or posters will receive the supplies listed at the end of this article plus log sheets to record where they have posted flyers and who they have talked to. (The log sheets are included in the Word and PDF files.)

Each member who is responsible for phone calls, faxes, and emails will record the phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and who they spoke to on their log sheet.


  • Every member should have the same description of your dog.
  • Every member should have flyers, posters and all contact info of all other team members.
  • Everyone should have log sheets to record their information so there is no duplication of efforts.
  • Everyone should call you every couple hours to check in.

Because this article is so long, it’s broken up into sections. Just a reminder, if you email me at, I will send you the entire booklet in PDF.

Copyright Caryl Wolff 2007-2016

Next Post on Finding Stolen Dogs

Introduction – Part 1
Background information – Part 2
Things to do Now – Part 3
Things to do Immediately after Your Dog is Stolen – Part 4
Things to do in Your Search – Part 5
Supplies you will need – Part 6
How to Make your Flyers and Posters – Part 7
What to do when you Receive Responses – Part 8
Scams – Part 9
Follow-up – Part 10

I’d love to hear what your comments are on Finding Stolen Dogs. Please share your experiences with your dog or ask a question so we can begin a dialogue to help each other.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog behavior consultant or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.

If you need help with dog training or puppy training in Los Angeles, please contact us. We would love to work with you!

Copyright 2007-2015 Caryl Wolff


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