Advice to help dog owners keep pets safe from theft
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Northamptonshire Police is sharing advice to help dog owners keep their pets safe following a number of dog thefts in the county.
Dog thefts have increased nationally during the Covid-19 pandemic, as criminals seek to exploit the growing numbers of people looking to buy a puppy or dog.
Reports about stolen dogs have been received from across Northamptonshire, including recent incidents where both pets and working dogs were taken from homes and gardens.
PC Michelle Clapson, of the Rural Crime Team at Northamptonshire Police, said: “We understand how important people’s dogs are to them – they are part of the family, so we want to help everyone understand the best way to keep them safe.
“With demand for dogs still really high, we’re sharing advice with owners to keep their beloved pets safe, and also sharing advice to help those looking for a new dog to do so responsibly.”
One of the incidents reported recently to the Force involved someone advertising puppies for sale on a selling site, and when a viewing was arranged the prospective ‘buyer’ then stole the animals.
Others involved dogs being taken from people’s homes, gardens or yards.
PC Clapson said: “Every report we receive is heartbreaking, these dogs are people’s companions and every theft leaves a family devastated.
“By taking a few simple steps you can help to protect your furry friend – from keeping them where you can see them both at home and out and about, to making sure your social media profiles are set to private so people you don’t know can’t see your photos or work out where you live.”
She added that if anyone would like help or support from the Rural Crime Team on crime prevention around dog thefts, they can email [email protected]
Advice to help keep your dog safe at home
- Practise good home security – keep doors locked even when you are at home
- Ensure all your microchip details are up to date
- If your dogs are kept outside in a kennel, consider bringing them inside your home
- If your dogs must live outside, fit locks on kennels that are type-approved by Secured by Design, or available on the Sold Secure website
- Install CCTV, consider motion cameras that send alerts to your mobile phone
- Fit PIR sensor alarms and lighting
- Consider setting up boundary alarms and door alarms
- Do not advertise your dogs on social media. Check your profile settings and ensure your photos and information aren’t visible to people you’re not already friends with
Advice for out and about
- When out walking with your dog, ensure that they are either on a secure lead, or close by
- Don’t leave them tied up alone outside shops or in your car unattended
- Always have a mobile phone with you
- Be aware of your surroundings and any suspicious activity, such as anyone paying particular attention to your dog or asking questions
- Report all suspicious incidents to the police. Note registration numbers of vehicles, take good descriptions and take photos (if it is safe to do so)
Buying a dog responsibly
- Make sure that when buying a puppy or dog you are doing your research, ensuring that you are buying from a reputable/licensed breeder
- The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme can offer more advice
- A good breeder should be as curious about you as you are of them
- When viewing puppies you want to see the mum and see how the dog interacts with mum and the rest of the litter
- Ask to see papers and vet reports
- Walk away if it does not look or feel right and let us know
- If you have any concerns then please report to the RSPCA, your local Trading Standards team or the police by calling 101 or reporting online at northants.police.uk