The demand for dogs has skyrocketed since the first lockdown and prices have soared as a result.

With Spring approaching, this time of year feels like such a renewal in so many ways. But, with this fresh energy amongst us comes responsibility. Sometimes it feels like a drain on your spirit to think about negatives and to be cautious as we have so much to be cautious about already. Occasionally though, amplifying your awareness slightly can ensure your dog and you are always safe, happy and healthy. And that’s what we want.

Dog Napping

It’s a stressful topic. It’s heart breaking. But we feel it necessary to equip you with the knowledge you need to make a difference.

Dog thefts are now believed to be at an unprecedented high, with puppies stolen for immediate sale and adults taken for forced breeding on puppy farms.

Dog thefts are getting so intricate, sophisticated and lucrative that organised crime gangs have switched from Drugs to Dogs.

There are many reasons why this may be the case but the main one being that the penalty for dog snatching is likened to stealing sweets from the corner shop – and although steps have been taken to locate large puppy farms, it’s treated as a health concern by the authorities.

Organised crime gangs can make millions off stealing dogs and potentially receive no more than a slap on the wrist.

‘Puppy farming is a big business. We have uncovered large criminal gangs making millions of pounds.’’ RSPCA

Dogs are stolen from cars, from outside shops, from gardens and from parks, often while the owner is distracted by an accomplice. Horribly, a lot of thefts are targeted and planned, with many dog owners being watched for weeks before a strike.

A few things to look out for are;

– New markings/symbols/codes painted outside your house, on your fence or on your bins. These could be white, green, yellow etc – It doesn’t really matter. Just something new and suspicious to you;

– Cable ties/chalk markings on or around your property;

– Strangers taking pictures of your dog/s in the garden;

– Strangers asking lots of questions and taking an interest when out for a walk;

– People knocking on your dog and offering services – Cleaning services/selling stuff door to door – in some cases, accomplices have been found in back gardens trying to take dogs whilst owners have been distracted at the front door;

UK legislation states that any dog in a public place must have the name and address of their owner inscribed on a collar, tag or other identification material. Any owner allowing their dog to be in a public place without this information is in breach of the law under the Animal Health Act of 1981.

An ID collar is not just a cute accessory; it is a mandatory requirement.

This is even the case if your dog is microchipped. It is not a legal requirement for a vet to check a microchip. It’s sad to say but it would be very easy for you to purchase a dog and never know if it was stolen.

The RSPCA advises;

– Don’t leave your dog outside a shop or in a car on his/her own;
– Teach your dog a reliable recall when you are out walking;
– Vary your walking routes, or walk with a friend, if you have any suspicions;
– Check your garden to make sure it is secure and if you have a gate – fit a lock;
– Neuter your pet as this can reduce the likelihood of roaming;
– Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID Tag that is up to date;
– Microchip your pet and keep the details up to date;
– When answering the front door, make sure the back door is locked and your dog is out of site;
– Review your home security if you have concerns. A crime prevention Officer in your area will be able to give the best advice;
– If you see anything suspicious – call 101 in a non-emergency to contact your local Police in the UK.

This is not to scare you as we know you all do such an amazing job anyway – But, raising awareness is key.