The heartbreak that thieves are causing by stealing pets is being highlighted to a wider audience with the start of Pet Theft Awareness week.
Pet Theft Awareness Week (14th-21st March) has 3 main aims: Prevention, guidance to victims, and to campaign for tougher laws. During the week tips are offered to pet owners, showing how technology such as microchipping can help, and highlighting why more needs to be done to fight back against the thieves.
Figures suggest dog theft has quadrupled in the last four years, which has led to an estimated of as many as 45 dogs being stolen every day in the UK.
Accurate statistics are unavailable because in the eyes of the law a pet, be it a horse or a dog, is categorised as personal property. However there are some figures available and official police data shows that the equivalent of at least 3 dogs were reported stolen every day last year. It’s also estimated that around £671,000 has been made from stolen dogs since the beginning of 2012.
UK’s first Pet Theft Census revealed that 1 in 5 cat and dog owners has suffered the theft of a pet in their lives.
Arnot Wilson started the Pet Theft Awareness Week initiative last year with organisation VioVet following the theft of a friends dog. He said: “People steal dogs for a number of reasons, be it breeding, ransom or even dog bating. People must be vigilant in ensuring they never leave their dogs unattended and they must be microchipped.”
“People steal dogs for a number of reasons … they must be microchipped.” -Arnot Wilson, PTAW.
Doglost.co.uk is a website designed to help reunite lost and stolen with their owners. The website is one of the main groups behind Pet Theft Awareness Week, joining forces with campaign groups ‘Dog Theft Action’ and ‘Vets Get Scanning’ to help raise as much awareness as possible.
Since it launched in 2003 Doglost.co.uk has reunited thousands of missing and stolen dogs.
.Elaine Fisher, coordinator for Doglost in the East Midlands, said they have seen a year on year grow of 15% in dog theft over the past 3 years, with a third of missing dogs on the site reported as stolen.
KEEP YOUR DOG SAFE:
Make sure your pet is microchipped-
Microchipping involves inserting a tiny chip into the scruff of an animal’s neck. It contains a unique code that can be read on a scanner to reveal the owners contact details. Scanners are normally used by vets, rescue centres and dog wardens. Remember to update your details if they change.
Dog tattoo identification offers a permanent and visible means of identifying your pet if they are ever lost or stolen. The National Dog Tattoo Register can provide more details.
Under The Control of Dogs Order 1992 any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner engraved or written on it. Owners can be fined up to £5,000 if their dog does not wear an identification tag. The Retrieva collar allows you to track and locate your dog using your smart phone or computer.
Never leave your pet alone-
Never leave your dog unattended- be that outside a shop, in a car, on walks or even in your back garden.
Be careful who you talk to!
Be aware of anyone asking you questions about your dog.