Purebred dog thefts give owners reason to 'paws'

A rash of purebred dog thefts has left some New Jersey dog owners concerned.According to the Associated Humane Society, about 10,000 dogs are stolen annually in the Garden State and more than 2 million nationwide.

In November, a 2-year-old Pomeranian show dog was taken from a Morristown home and just last week, a 170-pound mastiff was snatched from its owner's car in Secaucus.

It's an epidemic that worries the Leverett family as it shops for a puppy. "They are family, just like my kids and my wife," says Markeith Leverett, of Newark. "I love dogs. They are part of my life."

Experts say people steal purebred dogs because they can't afford to buy them or because they want to make money breeding them. The dog business is a multibillion dollar industry, where some dogs can fetch thousands of dollars.Some dog owners have gone high-tech in their efforts to keep their pooches close by implanting identification chips into their canines. If scanned, experts say owners have a 50-50 chance of getting back their best friends.

For an interview about purebred dog thefts in New Jersey, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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