Sadly, pet theft is on the increase and UK police have found that 2020 was one of the worst years for pet thievery, most likely associated with an increased demand for dogs over the national lockdowns.
MPs are debating whether to introduce a law specifically for pet theft that will hand out prison sentences rather than the d=fines that are normally given. However, no law is a perfect deterrent, so please read the following to help protect your dog from cruel pet thieves.
All dogs adopted from Forever Hounds Trust will have been microchipped and the chip details are transferred into the name of the adopter. However, sometimes people do forget to let the microchip company know when they have changed address or got a new phone number. Please check that your microchip company is informed of any changes to your contact details.
Dog collar identity discs also need to be updated when people move to a new address or get a new phone number. Please check your dog’s ID discs are up to date with your current contact details and your vet’s phone number. Also check the tag for any wear which makes the details unreadable or the tag likely to fall off and replace if necessary.
Some of the recent thefts have involved thieves taking dogs from their homes. Never leave your dog unattended out in the garden where they can be easily snatched. Keep your doors and windows locked while you are out and ideally keep blinds and curtains closed so thieves cannot look in an see a potential target. Avoid leaving your pet at home while you are out where possible.
Furthermore, try and remove anything that could give thieves a clue there is a dog inside your home, such as toys in the garden, pet food bags in the bins or ‘beware of the dog’ signs on your gate.
Out and About
Sadly, your dog may not be safe from thieves while out and about either. Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car or tied up outside a shop, as they can quickly be taken. At parks and other open spaces you should be wary of letting them off the lead, and keep them within your sight. In winter months give them reflective coats and flashing lights to wear to ensure they are easily spotted by you and to make them more visible to motorists.
It may be better to use a longline lead so they can get a runaround while still being safe and secure. As above, mark the leads with your name and telephone number, in case they run off with the lead still attached.
There have been some reports of people being approached while out walking with their dog, and for that reason it might be best to walk with another person when in a quiet or remote area.
Even with all the best attention in the world some dogs still do go missing but thievery is a prevalent issue right now. If you suspect your dog is lost or stolen, contact the police to file a report.