ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Now more than ever, thieves across the country are breaking into cars, yards and even homes to steal dogs.

The American Kennel Club says there was a 70 percent jump in dog thefts in 2012 compared to the year before. In Tower Grove, Peggy Gallon had her purebred American bulldog stolen from her home last month while she was running errands.

“I came in the house and Duke wasn’t here,” she said. “I don’t know why anyone would want him because he’s a handful.”

But while he may be a handful, Gallon says Duke is probably worth $1,000.

American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson says there are a number of reason dogs are stolen.

“We’ve seen pets stolen to be held for ransom, certainly to be given as gifts to other people,” she said. “They don’t want to pay a purchase price or pay an adoption fee.”

Peterson recommends placing a microchip in your pet to expedite the process of claiming it if it is found. As for Duke, he has a microchip but has not yet shown up.

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