Advice to combat dog theft issued as police stress Dorset offences are rare
DOG owners were issued with advice to help prevent their pets being stolen as Dorset Police sought to assure them such offences are very rare in the county.
This comes amid growing fears sparked by reports of dog thefts on social media and in the media over the past year.
But while nationwide thefts surged 170% in 2020, the force said that after falling from 35 to 22 cases in Dorset between 2017 and 2019 they only rose slightly to 26 in 2020.
There have been four confirmed thefts in the county between 1st January and 31st March this year.
Ch. Supt Mark Callaghan stressed officers understood the emotional impact on owners and took the matter very seriously. He pointed out investigations resulted in some stolen dogs being returned in recent years.
“Dog theft remains relatively low in Dorset, but we are asking owners to do their bit to help protect their pets and prevent offences from occurring in the first place,” he said.
Owners should have their dogs microchipped – a legal requirement – and ensure all contact details are kept up-to-date.
Other tips include not leaving them unattended if possible as they can easily be stolen from back gardens, vehicles or outside premises.
Home and garden boundaries should be checked for how easy it is to walk in or climb over fences, gates and entrances should be locked; and kennels or pens hidden from street view.
All dogs should wear a collar with identification when in public, but the pet’s name should not be on the tag and instead just a surname and contact number.
If a dog is being snatched, the owner should shout to alert passers-by and, if possible, take photos or videos; and call police on 999 and alert the microchip company immediately.
Newly-elected Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, said he was preparing an action plan to combat dog thefts.
But he said: “Part of the solution is to improve our awareness of how to reduce our pet’s vulnerability.”
For more information visit dorset.police.uk/dogsafety