We have been made aware of the increasing number of dog thefts in our area and the possibility of RSPCA inspectors being impersonated as a way to facilitate this.
The RSPCA would like to remind and reassure the public that all of our officers wear branded uniforms and carry issued RSPCA ID. If an RSPCA officer attends your address and you are unsure of their credentials, then please ask to see their official ID and look for the RSPCA badge on their clothing. If you have taken these steps and are concerned someone isn't who they say they are then you do not need to grant them access and can ring the national call centre on 0300 1234 999. If you believe someone is impersonating a member of our staff please report the incident to your local police.
Pet theft is a heartbreaking and extremely distressing situation for both pets and their owners who are victim to this and we believe there should be strong sentences for these types of crimes. The maximum sentence for this crime is seven years’ imprisonment and we welcome the new Sentencing Council guidelines on pet theft the Government recently introduced.
We would encourage all dog owners to take extra precautions to protect their pooches from thieves by neutering their pets, ensuring they are microchipped with up-to-date contact details registered, ensuring they wear a collar with contact details embroidered or an engraved ID tag.
We’d also advise that owners never leave their pets tied up outside shops or alone in cars, ensure their gardens are secure with gates locked, and ensure their pet has a good recall and doesn’t stray too far when off-lead on walks.
Anyone who suspects their dog may have been stolen should immediately alert police, contact their microchip company to register their pet as stolen and inform local rescue groups, vets, dog walkers and neighbours.