Pet theft awareness week (14th to 21st March 2017) is held to raise awareness of pet theft across the country.
Dog theft is a growing problem and Dartford MP Gareth Johnson held the first ever hosting event in the Houses of Parliament.
He has joined forces with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA) and raised awareness about the growing issue of dog theft.
Mr Johnson said: “Dog theft is a particularly nasty crime which causes great distress to the owners and to the dogs themselves.
“It is a rising issue in this country with hundreds of dogs being stolen every year. Too often dogs that are stolen are simply reported as missing and very few are ever returned to their owners.”
Mr Johnson contacted all 43 police forces in England and Wales to ask them for details about dog theft in each force.
He said: “Of the 34 forces which replied, we discovered there have been more than 5,000 reported cases of dog theft since 2011. Of these just 12% of dogs were reported to have been returned to their owners.
“At the moment there is no specific crime of dog theft and so if it does reach court, a dog which is a family member and well-loved, is treated like any other chattel such as a TV or mobile phone and the sentence is based on monetary value.
“Dog theft is a nasty crime and causes devastation to dog owners and huge stress to the dogs themselves. I hope this event highlights this growing problem and the inability of the courts to effectively deal with this issue.”
A spokesman for SAMPA said: “The crime is largely unpunished as few cases reach court, and because dogs are regarded as goods any sentence reflects the value of the dog not the impact on the victim who has lost a member of their family.
“Police statistics vary across the country and are simply the tip of the iceberg. They show how a force records dog theft rather than the size of the problem.
“Until scanning of microchips is compulsory by vets, rescues and other authorities there can be no guarantee that a dog will be reunited with its rightful owner.”
Pet Theft Awareness website link: http://www.pettheft.co.uk/
What can you do to protect your dogs?
- Stay with your dogs – do not tie them up outside shops.
- Ensure that any CCTV in your home covers the driveway and back garden gates.
- Be careful what you publish on social media with pet photos, walks that you take, and if you house them outside in kennels.
- When out walking, ensure that your dog has good recall and can be trusted to return when called. If not keep them on a lead.
- Ensure that you keep your eyes on your dog when off lead; don’t get distracted by your mobile phone, giving an opportunist thief time to escape with your pet unnoticed.
- When visiting your vets, ask them to check your ID chip each year as a minimum, update your details when you move address or change contact numbers. It is now law to have your dog chipped and keep your details up to date.
Lincolnshire Police works closely with the organisation DOGLOST, so if you find a dog or lose your own, we will work with them to try and find your pet as quickly as possible.
Visit their website see link: http://doglost.co.uk/
Message sent by Gill Finn (Police & NHWN, Community Safety Officer, Police Headquarters)
[via Lincolnshire Alert]