Dog thefts, what you need to know and how to keep them safe!
Rates of dog thefts have been increasing over the past year. Why? mainly because there has been a massive increase in the prices of puppy’s during the covid pandemic. Demand for puppies has rocketed to a scary new high. Well-meaning new puppy owners are taking the lockdown situation as the perfect opportunity to get that dog they have always wanted. Leading to a hike in demand and the inevitable price rise. It’s even been reported by the Dogs Trust following a poll 44 percent of people would turn a blind eye to the cruel puppy smuggling trade to get the dog they want! They are even prepared to buy a puppy from an online advert, even though they feel they maybe a risk of getting scammed. This soaring trend has led to criminals cashing in on it and seemingly going to extreme lengths to acquire dogs and puppies for breeding or selling them on.
Those of us that are on social media have been seeing posts most days reporting dogs being stolen from gardens, cars and it’s even been reported that dogs are being stolen whilst being walked by their owners.
It would appear the home and garden are the top locations for pet thefts. Owners are being urged to be extra vigilant by not leaving dogs unattended in gardens or yards. Meanwhile whilst out and about owners are being encouraged by local police forces to take small precautions to keep themselves and their dogs safe. Nottinghamshire Police force is no exception. Here are their recommendations.
Nottinghamshire Police - Protect your dogs from being stolen:
- Never leave your pet tied-up unattended (outside a shop)
- Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place (required by law). Include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode.
- Ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip or tattoo.
- Ask your vet to check your dog’s microchip every year to ensure your details are accurate and up-to-date.
- From 6 April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are eight weeks old. Puppies can usually be microchipped from four weeks of age depending on their size, so ensure this is done as soon as possible.
- Decide who owns the dog(s) within in your family. Discuss who will own them after bereavement or the break-up of a relationship.
- Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place. Include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog. Make a note or take a picture of any unusual markings.
- Be cautious when choosing someone who will care for your dog(s) while you are at work, in hospital or on holiday. Be clear about when the dog will be handed over and who will collect it.
- Use a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer with documentation to this effect unless you know someone who is trustworthy that will care for your dog in your absence.
- Train your dog not to go out of your sight on walks. Use an extending lead if the dog does not comply. Vary your walk times and routes.
- Beware of strangers who show interest in your dog: don’t give details about your dog. Don’t allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog.
- Ensure your garden or yard is secure. Check it regularly for wear and tear or gaps. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden, don’t leave it unattended.
What to do if you need to report your dog is stolen
If you have lost your dog or would like to report a stray dog in your area, please contact your local council’s dog wardens
If you need to report your dog as stolen:
Before you call
If the worst should happen, please check with any friends or family members who may have access to your dog to ensure they haven’t taken the dog out
Contact Nottinghamshire Police
If you do not believe your dog has been stolen rather than escaping or otherwise going missing, you should report the theft to Nottinghamshire Police on 101 providing as much information as possible about:
- The description of your dog including name and microchip number
- Dates and times for when you last saw your dog.
- The circumstances around your dog’s disappearance.
- Contact names and numbers of anyone you believe may have access to your dog.
- Descriptions of people or vehicles seen acting suspiciously in the area.
Having said all of this Nottinghamshire police have stated that there has not been an increase in dog theft reports within Nottinghamshire and are urging people to remain calm, but to report any concerns.