There have been many high profile stories about missing and stolen dogs in the news in the past few months and dog thefts are now a serious issue across the country. In spite of this we still see dogs left outside shops and in the back of cars where they are visable and therefore can be stolen. Once stolen, a dog can be moved many miles in a short space of time so prevention is vital.
Just this week two people have been arrested and found to have a stolen Springer Spaniel in their van whilst travelling along the A12 near the Great Braxted junction, very near to our Witham Hospital. There have also been numerous reports of two men in a van in the Coggeshall / Braintree / Maldon that seem to be connected with several dog thefts.
This problem is not confined to this area with the intenet, news papers and social networking sites full of adverts for stolen and missing dogs. One of the most prominant missing dog cases is that of Angel the German Short-Haired Pointer who has been missing from before Christmas and whos owners are offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to her return.
Unfortunately, we also receive weekly reports of dogs who have been lost whilst on a walk or who have escaped from a garden when a gate has been left open. Runaway dogs are often never found and are at high risk of being hit by a car on the road.
We cannot even begin to imagine how the owners of these stolen and missing pets feel and have tried to help in any way we can by bringing attention to each case. As dog theft is becoming a real threat to all dog owners we have compiled the following advice:
Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe
- Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag on when in public, even if it is microchipped. The tag should have your address and telephone number on. (This is also a legal requirement.)
- Have your dog microchipped and make sure you keep your contact details up to date if you move or change your phone number. The microchipping of all dogs is soon to be a legal requirement.
- Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop – even for just a few minutes.
- Do not leave your dog visable in your car while you are not there – a thief will not think twice about smashing a window and taking them.
- Beware of strangers who stop you on a walk and ask you questions about your dog, they may snatch your dog from you or follow you home.
- Vary your times that you walk your dog, as some owners are followed and their dogs targeted after the thief has learnt their daily routine.
- Never let your dog out of your sight on a walk. A dog can be easily spooked and run away if they off the lead. Maybe consider using and extending lead, especially if you are walking in a new area that your dog does not know.
- Make sure your garden is secure and all gates are locked from the inside.
- Do not advertise your dog to thieves, take down any ‘beware of the dog’ or ‘This dog lives here’ signs that you have in your house.
- It is advisable to move any kenneled dogs indoors as most of the dogs targeted in the area have been working Gundogs kept outside.
Hopefully, all of the publicity will help all of the missing dogs so that they are reunited with their owners. Fingers crossed we will hear some good news soon.