Protect your dog against theft
It pays not to be complacent when considering the safety and security of your pet or working dogs.
According to the Missing Pets Bureau as many as 38 per cent of all animals reported lost have actually been stolen and as many as 60 per cent of these are tragically never recovered.
In recent years, there has been an increase across the UK of dog theft, especially working dogs such as spaniels and border collies. In particular, small breeds, often described as “hand bag” dogs, are being targeted. Some are taken to be sold on, some, particularly the popular small breeds are used breeding. It must be said, that while this does not seem to be affecting the North Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham at the present time, dog owners should be vigilant.
Steps to take to avoid dog theft.
- It is law in the UK that all dogs should wear a collar and ID tag. Include your surname, telephone number and post code on the tag, but do not divulge your dog’s name.
- Make sure that your dog has been microchipped, your vet will do this for you for about £20 to £30. Some dog charities, such as the Dogs Trust, will do it for free or for a small donation.
Be sure to keep your details up to date with the micro-chip company so that should your dog be lost or stolen and subsequently located, they will can be reunited with you ASAP
- Ask your vet to scan and check your dog’s microchip annually. This can be done at the same time as your pets annual inoculations.
- Keep all the documentation relating to your dogs in a safe place. Take clear photographs of your dog and include it in your file. Make a note of any unique and identifiable markings.
- Be cautious when employing someone to care for your dogs while you are at away. It may be better to employ the services of a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer.
- If you don’t intend to breed from your dog then consider getting it neutered as this will decrease the chance of theft for breeding.
- Keep lots of photographs of yourself with your dog, to help you to prove ownership if needed.
It only takes moments for a thief to snatch an unattended dog. The following tips may prevent that happening.
- Don’t let your dogs take themselves for a walk or wander off alone.
- Don’t leave them in an exposed, easily accessed front garden or rear garden where there is easy access.
- Don’t leave them unattended in a car.
- Don’t leave your dogs tied up outside a shop. You will make them a vulnerable and tempting target for opportunist thieves.
- Fit a bell to your gate so that you can hear visitors/trespassers enter your property.
- Ensure your fencing and gates are escape proof and check regularly for wear and tear.
- If possible, keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden.
- Think twice about and be cautious when inviting people into your home to view dogs/puppies for sale.
- If your dogs are kenneled outside, fit an alarm and tamper proof locks to the kennel
When walking your dog.
- Carry a mobile phone with you and use it to call a friend, relative or the police should you feel the situation warrants it.
- Do not let your dog run up to strangers and if you feel someone is trying to entice it away from you put it on a lead and go in the opposite direction.
- Train your dog to keep close and not to go out of your sight on walks. Use a lead if your dog does not recall or an extending lead if your dog wont stay close.
Should the worst happen.
If your dog is lost or is suspected stolen, it is important you do not panic and that you act promptly.
- Report the loss to your local council’s Dog Warden and those in all other neighboring local authorities.
- Visit places where dog walkers go such as local parks and public places and talk to people, asking them to keep an eye open for your dog.
- If you believe your pet has been stolen, report it to the police and insist it is recorded as a theft and not a lost animal.
- Report the loss/theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.
- Make and print up posters and display them in areas local to your home and also in relevant places such as vets, pet shops and local parks etc. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances surrounding your pets disappearance.
- Report the loss on as many as possible of the missing animals websites – such as doglost.co.uk.
- Contact local animal shelters and rescue charities and send them posters to display.
- Use facebook, twitter and other forms of social media to appeal for help.