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  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

Finding Stolen Dogs – Scams

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Finding Stolen Dogs – Scams

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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.

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

Finding Stolen Dogs – Scams


Unfortunately, there are people who will scam you after your dog is stolen. Finding stolen dogs scams are common. Be informed and beware!

Madeline Bernstein of spcaLA put this very succinctly, “These people capitalize on the value of your dog in your personal life. And they know that there’s lots of money to be made from the human/animal bond.”

Even though I use the pronoun “he” in these descriptions, many of these scammers are women. Don’t be fooled.

There are variations on these scams, but they sound similar to the ones described here.

• The scammer calls you and wants you to meet him at a strange or dangerous location or to send him money in order to get your dog back. You can agree to do whatever he asks BUT then call your local law enforcement Detective Division, local SPCA Humane Enforcement Division, and animal control officers immediately so they can catch him.

• The scammer gave the dog to them as a gift but a family member is abusing the dog and they feel guilty about it.

• The scammer noticed your ad and wants you to make a contribution to an animal charity to honor your dog. He gives you the address where to send the donation – but it’s a bogus charity, and the money goes straight into his pocket.

• The scammer poses as a truck driver who has found your dog and will return it to you if you pay for shipment and/or vet bills.

• The scammer calls you and says that they offer a service to help you locate your dog and will do the work for you if you pay him.

• The scammer says that a relative has found a dog that looks just like yours and will return it to you if you pay for the food, vet bills, and/or shipping fees.

• The scammer says that he has found your dog but it’s in the other room. He asks you to give a more complete description, and you do. Then he goes to check and returns saying it’s not the same dog. A short time later, you get a phone call from his accomplice who parrots back the information you just gave the scammer and asks for a reward.

• Someone whose name you don’t recognize calls you collect. As the operator asks if you will accept the charges, the scammer says that he has your dog. You either do or do not accept the charges and then are immediately disconnected and a return call never comes. When you get your phone bill, the scammer has charged long distance and international calls to your number. If this happens to you, AS SOON AS THE DISCONNECT HAPPENS, CALL YOUR PHONE COMPANY AND REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY so they can monitor your line.

• The scammer says he has your dog and gives you the description in your flyer. He says he will injure your dog if you do not pay him the reward.

• You answer a “found” ad in the paper and bring the reward and he gives you a complicated story why he doesn’t have your dog but will drop it off somewhere if you give him the reward now.

• The scammer arranges a meeting. When you meet, he says that your dog is in his car and he has to go get it. You pay him the money and then he disappears.

• The scammer calls you and says he has a dog that might be yours. When you describe yours, he apologizes and says that it’s not yours, and then he gives you a heartbreaking story about the dog that he does have – or one that’s about to be euthanized at the pound or tells you something dire about his foster family – and asks that you wire money (many times through Western Union) to help pay this dog’s medical bills so he can find it a new home. You are vulnerable because your dog is gone and you may feel bad enough to send money. DON’T DO IT. There is no dog.

• A person calls you and exactly describes your dog and answers all your questions correctly. This quite possibly is the thief. Arrange for a meeting and call the police immediately.

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 - Scams. 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.


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