top of page
  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

Finding Stolen Dogs – Immediate Actions

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Finding Stolen Dogs – Immediate Actions

REPRINT POLICY for Finding Stolen Dogs

This article is provided free as a service and may be reprinted IN PRINT ON PAPER ONLY in its entirety exactly as written with the following wording:

Copyright 2007-2021 Caryl Wolff All rights reserved. Print reproduction is granted in entirety.

I will be happy to send you a PDF file – FREE OF CHARGE – that is formatted and ready for publication in booklet form (including pagination, Table of Contents, and log sheets), so that you can print it out for distribution. Please email me at I do ask that you link to or on any Websites, newsletters, blogs, or email discussion groups.

PLEASE NOTE: This article is all the information I have. I understand that this a difficult time for you if your dog was stolen. I regret that I cannot give you any further information or cannot help find or reunite you with your dog. I welcome emails that say “thank you for your information,” but please don’t email or call me to ask for further assistance because I can’t help you any further.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

I welcome any additions you may offer. Please email suggestions.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, we can get to the article itself.


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, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media 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.

Thanks for visiting Finding Stolen Dogs - Immediate Actions. I make a small commission on any products or books I recommend.

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

If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to . We look forward to working with you.


bottom of page