NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You might think twice before tying your dog up as you pop into a store in New York City. Desperate for cash, criminals are going to the dogs.

Reports of dognappings have skyrocketed across the country since last year and in Brooklyn, three family pets have been snatched off the street in just the last month.

“Everybody needs money and they’ll sell them,” said Zonia Otero of the West Side.

No one knows that better than heartbroken Joan Hong of Fort Greene, putting up flyers offering a $1,000 reward for her 2-year-old Yorkie Matsu.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman With Joan Hong

“No questions asked. I just want him home,” said she said.

On Friday, Hong’s boyfriend tied the dog to a pole in front of a deli in Fort Greene, went inside and came back out to find Matsu stolen.

Matsu (file / credit: Joan Hong)

Matsu (file / credit: Joan Hong)

“Either they’re stealing the dog to just give it to their family or they actually just turn it around and sell it, either on Craigslist or eBay,” Hong told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

The American Kennel Club reported a sudden 32-percent rise in dog thefts nationwide. From January to July of last year, 150 dogs were reported stolen. So far this year, the crimes rocketed to 224.

The pets are stolen during home invasions, out of parked cars, and even ripped from owners’ arms.

“Criminals are taking pets trying to sell them to unsuspecting customers either online or out of a van on the roadside,” the Club said.

The dogs most likely to be stolen are smaller breeds or puppies worth hundreds of dollars. The smaller the dog, the easier to snatch.

“Do not leave your dog unattended, in your car, in front of deli, in your back yard. Make sure it’s locked up and inaccessible. Someone wants your dog,” Hong said.

She checked the deli’s surveillance camera footage, Craigslist and eBay, but had no luck yet. She said she will never give up until Matsu is home again.

“Please bring him home,” she said. “My boyfriend and I argue about this. He’s angry and wants to kill this person. I just want this person to know that he’s our child.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 917-587-1276.

Do you ever leave your dog unattended? Let us know below…