Dog owners are being urged to stay “on their guard” following a spate of dog thefts across the country.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said the county was no worse affected than anywhere else but warned dognapping is a growing problem in other parts of the UK – and called for owners to remain vigilant and not to take unnecessary risks.
Earlier this month Nottinghamshire Police appealed for help to trace a stolen dog.
The white, 16-month-old Jack Russell/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, called Yankie, was stolen from an address in Goodliffe Street on Friday, August 11 and officers are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.
Nationally, more than 1,700 dogs were stolen during 2016 – five pets a day. The figure is up 19% in comparison to 2014 when almost 1,500 thefts were reported, according to recent figures by Direct Line Pet Insurance.
Eight in ten stolen dogs are never returned to their owners. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is currently the most stolen breed and experts believe the rise is due to an increase in illegal puppy breeding.
“Dogs are man’s best friend. The impact of this type of crime is devastating and leaves an unbearable sense of loss and heartache with everyone involved,” said Mr Tipping.
“While Nottinghamshire doesn’t appear to be any worse affected than other parts of the country, you only have to look on social media to know than dognapping nationally is a much bigger problem than figures suggest with many owners not reporting the thefts to police. For this reason I would urge dog owners in Nottinghamshire to stay on their guard and remain alert to the dangers.
“You can reduce the risk by ensuring your home is secure, never leaving dogs unattended in a public place or a locked-up car and making sure garden gates have a robust locking system. Pedigree dog owners are at particular risk because of the high selling on value associated with these breeds.
“It’s also now the law to ensure your animals are microchipped to increase the chance of being reunited with a stolen pet should the worse happen. Importantly, always report the theft to the police.”
A Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson added: “We would urge anyone that spots a stray dog to report this to the local council or dog warden, as they may be stolen dogs that have been set free.
“Only approach a dog if it is safe to do so, for both yourself and the dog, to check if it is wearing a tag. Local vets and rescue centres will also be willing to help any dog found wandering the streets.
“We would also urge owners to be vigilant when leaving dogs outside shops or in an unsupervised garden, as this gives opportunity to determined thieves.
“Advice on how to best protect your dog from thieves can be found here: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/protect-your-dog-against-theft”
Anyone with information on the problem should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101.