"Positive Steps To Safeguarding Your Dog From Being Stolen
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"Positive Steps To Safeguarding Your Dog From Being Stolen

Dogs
Health & Safety

It has to be a dog owner's worse nightmare to find their beloved four legged friend has gone missing. It gets even worse when you realise your dog might even have been stolen by some unscrupulous people who do it for a living. The statistics available indicate the number of dogs being stolen in the UK is on the increase which is another serious cause for concern.

Why Is Dog Theft on the Increase?

The question on many dog owner's lips, is “why are dogs being stolen”? The answer is there are several reasons why people's pets are being take and none of them are very reassuring. Some dogs are stolen so they can be put in a ring to fight other dogs – a terribly frightening thought for any dog owner. Other dogs are stolen for breeding whereas certain dogs are taken for hunting. Then of course, there are the dogs stolen because the thieves want to demand a ransom from owners. Lastly, there are some pet dogs that are stolen simply because the person likes the look of them and simply helps themselves to someone else's pet.

Naturally, every dog owner who has had a pet stolen hopes they will be reunited with them. However, this is not always the case and the sad truth is that many dog owners never know the fate of their beloved pets – it really is a heart breaking scenario, and it's one that leaves many people feeling very empty and sad.

Making Sure it Never Happens to Your Dog

Each and every dog owner needs to take all the positive steps they can to ensure their pets never get stolen. As such they need to treat their dogs just as they would a highly prized possession. Below are a few things that help do just this:

  • Make sure your dog is micro-chipped. If you are not that keen on micro-chipping because of the bad press the process has sometimes received, then consider having your dog tattooed instead. This does not stop your dog from being stolen but it does mean you do stand a better chance of getting your pet back
  • Always keep a watchful eye on your dog – even if you leave them in your own garden. It does not matter if you live in a town or in the country, you have to know where your dog is at all times. Many dogs are stolen from their own back gardens which is a very worrying situation.

Always make sure the fencing around your property is safe and secure, so your dog can't get out and other dogs can't get in. Some thieves use their own dogs to tempt other dogs out of a garden where they are then caught and taken away.

Never, ever leave your dog tied up outside any shops – not even your local newsagents. You would not leave a pram with a baby in it unattended outside a shop, so you should treat your dog in exactly the same way.

Dogs that have been left in locked cars have been stolen too – for this reason you should make sure you do this as little as often to decrease the chances of it happening to you and your four legged friend.

What To Do If You Think Your Dog Has Been Stolen

If you think your dog has been taken without your permission, you need to contact your local police station immediately. You might want to go to the station in person and insist that the theft is logged correctly as a theft and not just as “lost pet dog”.

If your dog was stolen and then recovered, you need to ask yourself if you can prove the dog actually belongs to you. This is an amazing situation that can really be disturbing for any dog owner – but you will need to do this so you have to be prepared – micro-chip documents, photos and anything else that proves the recovered dog belongs to you will have to be produced in order to get you dog back home with you.

There have been many cases when couples split up and then find out that one partner cannot prove they own the dog because they don't have the right paperwork. There have even been cases when dogs have been looked after by people while owners were away and refused to return them to their rightful owners – again without documentation it can be impossible to prove rightful ownership!

Things to ThinkAbout

  • Registration/pedigree documents are often not enough to prove ownership of a dog in court
  • Micro-chipping or tattooing is not enough to prove ownership on their own
  • Make sure you always get a bill of sale for your dog – no matter where you actually get your dog from. This includes from friends or acquaintances and always make sure you keep the document somewhere safe with your other important documents.
  • Make sure you take lots of photographs of your dog – paying particular attention to any distinguishing marks they may have that will set them apart from other dogs of the same breed. If you can make sure there is a date on the photographs that proves when they were taken.
  • If you are the owner of a dog and are in a relationship, make sure you keep some receipts of the expenses you pay out for food, vet bills etc – just in case you split from a partner.​

Although the theft of dogs is increasing it still remains an unusual crime. However, when it happens to you it is VERY distressing and goodness knows what happens to the many dogs which are never recovered. Please do not assume it will never happen

Schemes set up by Thames Valley Police

Dog owners in the Thames Valley Police Area will be interested to learn about Jackie Murdock’s work relating to Dog Theft. Jackie works with an equally hard working researcher, Jane, in a voluntary capacity while having a full time post within the force.. Motivated by her love of dogs and with the support of senior staff, she often works in her own time looking into all aspects of this nasty and growing crime and I know she certainly takes a lot of phone calls in her private time.

Jackie emails details of stolen dogs or incidents of note via a Dog Theft Alert scheme in the same as Neighbourhood Watch Ringmaster System but to a more specific audience. She also has many contacts in the ’’dog world’’ and other police forces who can be tapped into.

Where Jackiecan identify patterns or offenders she liaises with officers dealing with cases and fed information. Also, she makes every effort to attend events like Crufts and Discover Dogs to spread the word and support other groups like Dog Theft Action.

There is a link to her on the Thames Valley internal website so officers can easily find information to help combat the crime of Dog Theft.

To my knowledge, at present, there are no other police forces with a similar commitment to combating the problem and Jackie and Thames Valley deserve the gratitude and appreciation of all dog owners in that part of the UK.

http://www.thamesvalleypolice.uk/dogtheft

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