It's a pet owners worst nightmare - their beloved dog stolen from a porch or yard. Unfortunately, several Utica pet owners say this is exactly what happened to them.

Central New York has a strong network of pet owners, especially on Facebook. Naturally, when a pet goes missing - that's the first place many turn for help finding their four-legged friend. That's why a poster on the Lainey's Army pet advocacy Facebook page noticed a trend:

"Folks in Utica BEWARE!!! A husky was stolen from a porch, black and white pit stolen from a locked yard, and a St Bernard stolen from an enclosed deck. Don't know if it's kids messing around or something worse. The pit was found by police and the owner will pick up at shelter today. STAY IN YOUR YARD WITH YOUR PETS!!!"

Two out of three of those pets were recovered.

The owner of the pitbull posted on her Facebook page to say that the dog was eventually recovered from the Humane Society, but she was certain that her dog was forcefully taken from her yard:

"Were heartbroken and pissed our dog has been stolen from my locked backyard. I believe he tried to escape from whoever tried to take them as there are scratch marks and blood on the our door."

In a later post, she suggested that other dogs may have been taken:

"Just found out about 4 dogs have been taken from locked fenced in yards within the past 3 days. People please if you have dogs it seems it's no longer safe to leave them outside alone anymore as there are desperate sick (people) out there stealing family pets for who knows what for."

The husky's owner tells a similar story - the 2 month old puppy was on a clipped leash on their porch. The dog was unhooked from it's leash and taken from the porch. Fortunately, that dog was also recovered.

What should you do to keep your pets safe?

  • Never leave your pet unattended outdoors if you can avoid it.
  • If your dog is outside, keep an eye on them.
  • Be aware of unusual people in your neighborhood, or people that may seem overly interested in your dog.
  • Make sure your dog has a name tag, and, if possible, a microchip.

If your dog is lost - whether accidentally or if he or she is taken, don't hesitate to reach out to local advocacy groups on Facebook. They can quickly spread the word to help you find your dogs.