Back in 2019, we shared some advice about dog theft on social media in response to a number of incidents in the local area, particularly involving working gundogs. Little did we know then that this would become a wider issue, fuelled by demand for dogs during the pandemic and a resulting surge in puppy prices.

Whilst the media reports about theft are worrying, we’re keen to stress that it still remains relatively uncommon. The issue is also being taken seriously on a national level, with a government taskforce recently introduced to investigate the rising trend in theft.

 


Do not leave your dog unattended outside shops or in the car, no matter how safe the neighbourhood seems, even if it’s just for a minute.


 

That said, there are some simple measures we can all take to help keep our pets safe:

Ensure your dog is microchipped and that you keep the contact details up to date, for example if you move house. It is a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age and breeders must do this prior to sale.

Your dog should wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on (we also recommend a phone number). This is also a legal requirement and the quickest way to be reunited with a lost dog, if the finder cannot immediately contact a vet or dog warden to check for a microchip.

Neutered dogs can be less appealing to thieves as they can’t be used for breeding. Consider adding ‘neutered’ to their collar tag too.

Pets are easily stolen from a garden or yard if left unattended – keep them in sight. Enclose your garden boundary to keep your dog in and intruders out. Check that fences and gates remain secure after high winds. Consider fitting locks and alarms to the kennels of working dogs.

Do not leave your dog unattended outside shops or in the car, no matter how safe the neighbourhood seems, even if it’s just for a minute.

Train your dog not to go out of sight on walks. If they will not return when called, keep them on a lead, especially in unfamiliar areas. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Should a stranger approach with questions about your dog, be cautious with the information you share.

Keep recent photographs of your pet, especially those which show any distinguishing features or show them with both long and short/groomed coats. This can help with identification and proof of ownership.

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