Wednesday 14th March marks Dog Theft Awareness Day, and in 2017 DogsLost.co.uk reported that incidences of dog theft in the UK had risen by 24% since 2014. Sadly, it’s a highly profitable crime, and one that is devastating to the owner affected. While there needs to be more done to stop dogs being stolen in the first place, our Animal Welfare Officers have given their advice on how to minimise the risk of your dog being stolen and keeping them safe.
One of the main reasons dogs are stolen is for breeding. Neutering your dog not only offers health and behavioural benefits, but it can also help prevent the theft of your dog for breeding reasons.
A microchip, which is a legal requirement for dog owners, gives you the very best chance of being reunited with your pet should they become lost or stolen. Wherever they may end up in the country, a chip will always carry your details so your beloved pet can be tracked back to you. It is also a legal requirement to make sure you keep this information updated should you move home.
An ID tag is also a legal requirement of any dog owner to have their dog wear in a public place, with the name and address of its family. A telephone number is optional, but a good idea as it makes it easier for someone to reach you if they have found your dog. However, our Welfare Officers advise against putting your dog’s own name on the tag, as a thief who knows your dog’s name has an advantage to call them by their name and gain your dog’s trust.
Stay with them
Never leave your dog tied up alone outside a shop, or alone in your car, even if you are only going to be a few minutes. This can cause a dog distress (as well as overheating in the car), but it is also an invitation for an opportunist to strike when a dog is in a vulnerable position on its own. We advise to leave your dog in the safety of your home and please remember that dogs are also easily stolen from back gardens, so never leave your dog outside on its own.
We know dogs love walkies and running off lead in a safe place can give them so much joy, but it sadly also gives thieves the opportunity to steal unsuspecting dogs. It is a great benefit to be able to call your dog away from danger and come to you when called. Dogs often get lost by a friend of the family who are walking or exercising the dog on behalf of the owner, so make sure the dog is always kept on lead when they are out and about with someone other than the owner.
Statistics in graphics taken from Stolen and Missing Pet Alliance
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