With dog theft on the rise, the number of dogs reported stolen in the UK has risen for the fourth year in a row – with an average of five dogs stolen every day. it’s a low-risk, highly profitable crime, and one that devastates families, ripping them apart.
Here are some top tips to avoid becoming a victim.
- Walk with care
Doing the same loop everyday? Make it trickier for thieves, and don’t always be in the same place at the same time. This makes it harder for a planned abduction.
- Stay up-to-date
Microchip gives you the very best chance of being reunited with your pet. Wherever they may end up in the country, a chip will always carry your details over the many miles. Keep this information updated especially if you move or change your telephone number; not only is this a legal requirement, it’s common sense!
- Get tagged
A dog must be wearing an ID tag in a public place, bearing the name and address of its family. A telephone number is optional. However, refrain from putting your dog’s own name on the tag. A thief who knows your dog’s name has an advantage; it makes it easier to gain your dog’s trust.
- Stay together in public
Never leave your dog tied up alone outside a shop, even if you are only going to be a few minutes. It doesn’t take long at all for an opportunist to strike, and you’d never forgive yourself for putting your dog in that vulnerable position.
Make sure you have photographs of your dog from all angles – a clear close-up of the face, and a full shot of the body, as well as some of any distinguishing marks that set your dog apart, such as a smudge on the toe, or a patch on the side
Here’s what to do if your dog has been stolen:
- Firstly, make sure to check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots in case they have wandered off
- Make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ by sharing information on social media, putting up posters in the local area and informing local media – include pictures and any distinctive marks in any appeals, and ask others to spread the word
- Specific sites like DogLost are set up to help find missing dogs as well as offering advice and support.
- Report the dog theft to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
- Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens and the council. Provide photos, a physical description, and the dog’s microchip number
- Report your dog to the microchip database