Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the feeling of isolation and many people now working from home, there has been a significant increase in people searching for canine companions to join them in their homes.
Due to this high demand, the price of buying a puppy has almost quadrupled the value of some breeds. Along with puppies being targeted, female dogs are also being taken for breeding purposes, so criminals can maximise their profits.
Whilst the reporting, and coverage, of dog thefts in the UK has increased in recent times, dog thefts within Derbyshire thankfully remain very low. However, we recognise that for dog owners, the theft of a dog is akin to losing a family member, and this crime is particularly upsetting.
As such, we’ve drawn together the following advice to ensure that you four-legged friend is kept safe from harm.
How to keep your dog safe from criminals:
- Make sure your dog is always kept in a secure location.
- Consider installing CCTV and a burglar alarm at your property, or the area where you keep your dog.
- When walking your dog off their lead, keep a close eye on them and try to keep them nearby. Recall if a stranger approaches your pet and place them back on the lead.
- In 2015, a law was brought in to place stating that all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks of age, however, many still are not having this procedure completed. If your dog isn’t chipped, not only is it illegal, but if your dog is stolen or injured it significantly reduces the chances of it being returned if found. Also, check the chip details are up-to-date if you have recently moved properties.
- It is advised on your pet’s collar to have your phone number and address on the ID tag and it is not recommended to add the pets name, as it can make it easier to steal them.
- Avoid leaving your dog unattended, either outside of a shop or in a vehicle.
- If approached by anyone dressed in RSPCA uniform or another organisation wanting to talk about your dog, always ensure to check their ID.
How to protect yourself when buying online:
Fraudsters are targeting potential pet owners. If you are thinking of buying a pet online remember the following:
- It is not safe to pay someone you do not know via bank transfer, do not pay a deposit before meeting the pet.
- Do your research, always try to get your pet from a rescue centre or from a reputable breeder.
- It is advised to see the pet’s mother and at least a photo of the father.
- Ask to see where the litter are currently being kept and cared for.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for inoculation history and relevant paperwork.
- Agree a time to meet face-to-face to purchase and collect the pet.
What to do if you suspect a puppy farm:
Look out for warning signs for puppy farms, when browsing for pets on the internet.
If the breeder is reluctant or refuses any of the above requests for information, they potentially could be running an illegal puppy farm. If you suspect this to be this case call the RSPCA to make them aware on 0300 1234 999.
How to report a dog theft:
Anyone with information about dogs being stolen in the county is urged to contact Derbyshire Constabulary via one of the following methods:
•Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
•Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact
•Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
•Phone – call 101.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.