Attention dog owners in Blantyre! An alert goes out to anybody with dogs!
Helpful Information for Dog Owners:
There are a number of reasons why dog theft is increasing in the UK. The main issues are the high values attached to so-called ‘designer dogs’, a lack of awareness of the dangers, and lenient prison sentences for those convicted of the crime.
In addition to knowing how thieves operate, there are things you can do to make it harder for them to target your dog.
- Be wary of strangers that ask too many questions – It’s nice to receive compliments about your dog from strangers, however, if they start asking for personal information be cautious.
- Vary your walking patterns – Walking your dog in the same place at the same time every day creates a pattern for thieves to track and plan around. Variety is the key here.
- Microchip your dog – Laws introduced in April of 2016 state that all dogs over the age of 8 weeks have to be microchipped. Although this won’t prevent your dog from being stolen, your chances of being reunited are much higher with one.
New technology is being created every year in the fight against dog thieves. From cameras to location trackers, there’s a range of equipment which could help protect your dog.
- GPS Pet Trackers – These have the advantage of letting an owner know where their pet is in real time (a microchip needs to be scanned first, usually by a vet before it’s compared to the database to determine if it’s missing). A tracker can be expensive, but could provide vital location information of your dog. The downside is that these wearable devices can be easily removed by the thief.
- HD outdoor cameras – Small but powerful, HD cameras are handy to use in your garden if you’re worried about threats. They can provide a constant video stream to your house, letting you know what’s going on at all times.
- Home security system – Just as you might use a home security system to keep you, your family and your possessions safe, the same is true of your dog. Opt for a security system which is pet-friendly, meaning it won’t be set off by your dog. These systems are generally only suitable for small dogs. If you have a big dog, you may need to seek help from a professional home security installer.
In the event your dog is stolen, there are things you can do to find them. PawSquad, who offer 24/7 online access to a qualified vet, suggest the following top steps:
- Immediately report a missing dog to the microchip databases Petlog, PETtrac and Identibase. They’ll be able to notify you when your pet is found.
- If you believe your dog has been stolen, report the crime to the police and ask for a crime reference number. This will make it easier to find out about the precise nature of their investigation.
- Put up posters in the local area. Familiarising the neighbourhood with your dog will make it more likely to be found by a stranger.
- Register your missing pet on a dedicated website, such as Animal Search UK. Again, this will make it easier for members of the public to find and help return your dog.
- Post on social media to raise awareness, especially any local community groups that can share your post and help spread the news.
- Retrace your steps if your dog went missing during a walk. You may stumble across clues as to where they might have headed.
- Be sure to search common hiding places, surrounding gardens and the local neighbourhood. Ask anyone you see about your dog.
- Check with the council. The government has a handy feature which allows you to search for missing dogs.