For people who have businesses in the pet industry such as boarding kennels, minders and groomers, your ability to reassure your clients that their beloved furry friends will be safe and well looked after while in your care is an essential ingredient of your success.

If an incident such as pet theft occurs while you are responsible for the animal, it can be not only terrible for the owners, but potentially detrimental to your business and its future reputation. As such, it’s important for you to know what steps to take to keep the animals you are caring for safe, as well as have quality pet insurance to ensure you are protected from any liability.

Pet theft in Australia

The theft of domestic animals, particularly dogs, is a well-known concern among pet owners. In Australia, stolen dogs are often classified as lost, so it can be difficult to tell exactly how prevalent the issue is. According to an RSPCA report for the 2014-2015 financial year, they received over 46,000 dogs across the country, and increase on the previous year, and more than 133,000 animals in total.

The lack of an official report specifically on pet theft suggests that pet owners and business operators are largely uninformed about the risks. Yet incidents of pet theft that do come up often result in widespread alarm.

For example, in 2013 a series of reports about missing dogs in Melbourne resulted in fears of a systematic campaign of animal burglary. Dr Bob Cavey of Ultimate Veterinary Clinic revealed that he had heard of numerous incidents from clients.

“At least once a week people would come in saying they were concerned about their dogs being taken for illegal dog fighting,” he said.

This case reflects the need for pet industry professionals be constantly alert and prepared for the occurrence of theft crimes.

Pet insurance can help protect your business should an incident of theft occur.


What measures should you take?

When it comes to protecting animals from pet theft, the best course of action is preventative. When caring for clients’ pets, you should always be sure they are being contained securely and are well supervised. It also pays to check whether the animals have been microchipped, which can make recovery easier should they go missing.

However, protecting your business requires more serious measures, so consulting a knowledgeable broker about getting business insurance specialised for the pet industry is essential to helping you deal with liability for incidents.