As a nation of pet lovers, it’s no surprise that dog ownership increased significantly during the pandemic. Unfortunately, so did the number of dog thefts. There were more than 2,000 reported incidents in 2020 and this number is going up.
While dog theft is on the rise, catching those responsible is not. Just 2% of such cases led to suspects being charged in 2020, and concerns have grown so much that the government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce to tackle the issue.
On 14 March, the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance will hold their annual Dog Theft Awareness Day. So, in this quick read we offer tips to ensure your four-legged best friend is as safe as possible.
Letting your dog out into the front or back garden is a necessity, but how often do you check to see if they’re still there? Keep a watchful eye on your pup to make sure they’re safe – especially if they’re in the front garden. It’s also essential to make sure your garden is secure. A bell on the gate is a great deterrent as you can hear if anyone gets in or out.
General home security such as CCTV and doorbell cameras are also helpful.
Is your pooch microchipped? If so, make sure the information is up to date, such as a change of address and relevant telephone numbers. The same applies to their collars. Make sure your name and address is on the collar but avoid putting the dog’s name on it as this may help thieves lure them away.
We all love a selfie, so take some with your dog to help prove ownership if the need arises. If they have any distinguishing features, take a few pics of those, too.
Thieves like routine and if they’ve got their eye on your furry friend, it’s important to switch up the walking route you take, the times of walks, and so on. Consider walking your dog with a friend as two sets of eyes are better than one. Personal alarms are also a good deterrent if you feel your dog is attracting unwanted attention.
If you need to pop into the shops, don’t leave your dog tied up outside. This makes them an easy target for opportunists. The same applies to cars as an experienced criminal can get into the car and snatch a lone dog in seconds.
From all of us at Ridgewater, let’s keep our pets safe.