Dognapping is the crime of taking a dog from its owner with the intention of demanding a ransom. The word is derived from the term kidnapping.

Historically in the United States, dogs had been stolen and sold on for medical research, but the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 reduced these occurrences. The profit available to dognappers varies based upon the value of the dog or the amount that its original owners are willing to pay as ransom. Dog organizations recommend the microchipping of dogs in order to facilitate an animal’s return to its rightful owners.

History in the US and the UK

Dognapping is not a recent development, with reports of dogs being held by ransom since the 1930s. Harvard students kidnapped Yale‘s mascot Handsome Dan II in March 1934, which was reported by the media as “dognapping”. By July of the same year, what was considered by the press to be Chicago‘s first case of dognapping was solved with the return of a Boston Terrier named Kids Boot Ace, who had been missing for five months.

The first high-profile case of dognapping for monetary ransom occurred in 1948. The editor of House & Garden magazine, Richardson Wright, had a Pekingese puppy taken by a passing motorist who later telephoned to demand from him “as much money as you can pay” for the dog’s return. By 1952, gangs of dognappers were reported in the media. During this period, research laboratories would purchase “bootleg” dogs for experimentation, and patterns of thefts were apparent with specific types of dogs going missing at certain times. This led to the consideration of using dogs obtained from dog wardens instead of destroying those dogs, in order to cut down on the market for dognappers to sell on stolen dogs.

Does Wikipedia really need an extended article about dognapping? Save some bandwidth. All you have to do is read the kidnapping article and replace the word “kid” with “dog.” I want to learn the history of hamsternapping.

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