Beside all our other problems, dog theft may not register too high on your list of things to fix. But the crime is on the rise. The American Kennel Club reported a 32% jump last year. There were 224 thefts in the first seven months of 2011, compared to 150 the year before.
In Norway, a company has come up with an obvious–though elegant–solution: temporary dog kennels. Called Hundehi, the plastic structures are rented to retailers, who put them outside their businesses, and then sell (or give away) access to customers. Dog owners open the Hundehi with a contact-less plastic key.
Hundeparkering, the company behind the idea, says that the tight-looking box design is deliberate: Dogs feel calmer in an enclosed space. Previous designs were roomier, but tended to invite passers-by to look in, and disturb the animals. (Any design is better than being tied up.)
“The design is meant to give the dog a feeling of being in a hiding place, where they, unlike us humans, tend to relax and be very quiet,” says managing director Frode Rogstad.
The box is well-ventilated, with a fan that comes on when the temperature goes above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a one-hour limit for usage. And, the company recommends retailers clean weekly. (It says that in three years of operation, nobody has ever had to clean up pooh-pooh.)
Rogstad says there are currently about 50 cages in operation in Norway, and he hopes to expand to the U.S. and Asia soon. Dognappers beware.