CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Two Shih Tzu dogs were taken from a yard in southern Chesterfield County earlier this year.
Weeks later, one of the missing dogs was found miles from its owner's home.
"She had called around to all the local [animal] facilities to let them know both of her Shih Tzus were missing," Colonial Heights Animal Control Supervisor Amanda Sverchek said. "[One] ended up in our jurisdiction and it was turned over to our facility."
The second dog has not yet been found.
"Unfortunately yes, people do actually pick them up to steal them," Sverchek said.
Under state law, people who might find a lost dog have 48 hours to report it to the local animal control or proper authorities.
Sverchek suggested several steps pet owners could take to help keep their dogs safe.
They include getting the animal microchipped, wearing a collar, and taking lots of pet photos.
"It's important to help identify animal markings, birthmarks, or different colors throughout the body," she said.
The microchip may be the most effective layer of protection, Sverchek said, since animal Control officers and veterinarians always scan for chips.