Unfortunately the number of dogs stolen each year is increasing. It has been suggested that this increase could be due to the fact that there are many people struggling with debts and some might see an opportunity to make quick money by stealing dogs either to resell or to use for breeding. Pedigree dogs can be worth up-to the value of a £1000 which is why these dogs are so desirable and are prime targets for dog thieves. However, money isn't the only motivator for dog thieves. Dogs are also stolen so they can be used in dog fighting rings. This means that all dog owners should be on alert and on the lookout as it's not just pedigrees and puppies that are at risk of being taken. Whether dogs are being stolen for money or to become fighting dogs, there is certainly many ways to reduce the risk to owners and to increase the odds of the dog being found if they are indeed stolen.
Despite this unfortunate situation, there are still many dogs left unattended outside shops, left in cars or left to wonder in the park. The sad fact is, once a dog has been stolen it can be moved miles away in a short period of time, so it’s crucial that dog owners prevent this from happening.
Listed below are some safety points on how to keep your dog safe. It’s worth noting that these are just tips and it is up to the owner to look after their dog correctly to prevent theft from happening.
- Microchip your dog as it’s now the law and keep your personal details up-to-date in case your dog does become stolen or lost. All dogs and puppies should now be microchipped from the age of 8 weeks old.
- Never leave your dog in the car. There is never a good enough excuse to leave your dog in the car unattended. Thieves can easily break into your car and steal your beloved pet.
- Avoid leaving your dog tied up outside a shop. This presents a perfect opportunity for an opportunist to take your dog.
- Make sure your garden is dog proof and the gate is securely locked. Never leave the house with your dog left in the garden.
- Always watch your dog playing in the garden and remain vigilant of those walking by or entering your property.
- Have up-to-date photographs of your dog, showing any distinguishing marks. Just in case the unimaginable happens.
- Use a reputable company for pet sitting or boarding. Make sure you do lots of research and are happy that your dog is being left in a safe environment.
- If your selling puppies, make sure you supervise those coming to your house to view the puppies. Never leave them alone with the puppies and limit the amount of people you let in at any one time.
- Be wary of strangers asking questions about your dog. Whilst, it’s nice to chat to fellow dog owners, always be cautious if they’re asking lots of questions.
- Change the times and routes of your walks. There are some dogs that are specifically targeted whilst out walking
Action points to take if your dog is stolen
- First and foremost, act quickly. Time is of the essence
- Report the loss ASAP to the police and your local council
- Visit all local parks and nearby public places to talk to people and keep an eye out for your dog
- Share a post on social media and harness the power of your followers and friends and request for them to share your post
- Create posters with a reward and leave them in relevant places, such as the vets and local parks. The poster should show a clear picture of your dog and details of the circumstances
- Report the loss to your microchip database. This will hopefully ensure that no one try’s to re-register the microchip details
- Make contact with local animal shelters and rescue charities and provide them with posters to display
- Inform all local vets, in case someone takes your dog in for a visit or treatment
- Report the theft to as many animal databases and websites. Provide the same information and to help ensure widespread coverage
Lastly, your dog’s safety is your responsibility and they should never be left unattended regardless of any situation.