In light of Dog Theft Awareness Day yesterday (14th March), we feel it is important to raise awareness of such a cruel crime and help reduce the chances of it happening to you.

Being without your canine counterpart is as equally distressing as losing a human family member, and without the necessary protection in place, it can prove difficult to be reunited.

 

Like with other crimes, dog theft can happen to anyone. Although there is no real way to fully prevent it from happening to you, there are steps you can put in place to reduce the likelihood and there are ways to increase the chances of you being reunited with one another. National Dog Theft Awareness Day was introduced to show the significance of pet identification techniques.

 

Thousands of pets are lost every year with many never being reunited with their owners - microchipping helps to change this. While collars and tags can easily be caught or removed, microchipping is a permanent method of identification. Nevertheless, it would be useful to have all 3 identification methods for your dog.

 

Microchipping

It is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. However, if your pooch isn't already microchipped, we offer this service at our animal centre. We recommend that all animals are microchipped whether they are a dog or another species. Please call 01302 719790 to book an appointment.

Microchipping is a quick and simple procedure which involves a chip being inserted under the animal's skin. When scanned, this chip will provide a unique code for them which can then be matched up with your contact details. Your contact details will be stored on a database. It is extremely important that your contact details are always kept up-to-date so if you move house or change your telephone number, you should notify the chipping database immediately.

When an animal comes into our care, the first thing we do is check for a microchip. It is a lot easier for us to establish whether an animal is someone's missing pet when they are microchipped. If an animal is flagged up as missing on the microchipping database, we can easily contact the number attached to their chip to help reunite you. 

 

To minimise the chances of you becoming a victim of dog theft, you should be alert at all times, for example:

- walk with other dog walkers, or with a partner/family member etc. - try to avoid walking alone

- regularly change your routine - walk at different times of the day and vary your route

- always keep your dog in your eyesight throughout walks and be mindful of your surroundings

- ensure your pet has a good recall and doesn't stray too far when off-lead on walks

- don't wear headphones or be on a phone call

- never leave your dog unattended outside in public e.g. outside shops or in the car

- make sure your garden is secure every time you let your dog out, and always keep an eye on them

- consider outside sensor lighting and CCTV covering your garden and surrounding area

 

We would also encourage all owners to take extra precautions to protect their pooches by neutering them. This has several health benefits too.

 

In the unfortunate circumstance that you and your dog do become separated, there are a number of things you should do:

- if you have reason to suspect that your dog has been stolen, contact the Police online or via 101 to report the crime as theft

- call your dog's microchip database and let them know that your dog is missing 

- call your local animal warden so they can keep a look out for any dogs that match their description

- register your pet on https://doglost.co.uk/ (a free service) - https://www.petslocated.com/ is another helpful service

- call local veterinary practices

- call local animal centres, including your local RSPCA

- spread the word on social media - there are lots of helpful groups focussed on reuniting missing pets with their owners

- ask around in your local area - speak to dog walkers who frequent the area regularly and put up posters where you are allowed to

 

Make sure you have a clear photo of your pet and are aware of any distinguishing marks they may have.