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Here are some tips to help you stay aware of the risks of dog theft!
If you are anything like us at K9 Nation HQ, every time you hear another story about a dog having been stolen, your heart sinks thinking about what the poor owners are going through.
Dogs are regularly stolen for a number of reasons; ransom, resale, breeding and fighting. The stats around dog thefts and the true extent of the problem are very vague, but there is no denying that the recent lockdown puppy boom has led to an increased demand which can only have fueled illegal activity.
It’s shocking to think that there is no specific offence for stealing a dog, unlike for example car theft. Under UK law dogs are classified in the same way as low-value inanimate objects under the 1968 Theft Act. This means that more often than not the guilty culprits only face more serious penalties if the dog is worth more than £500.
So what can we do about dog theft?
There are lots of steps you can take as a responsible dog owner to try and reduce the risk of your dog being stolen and we’ve summarised a few:
Vary your walking routes.
Be wary of strangers and make sure to do research and get references before using a service such as a dog walker, boarding or daycare.
Don’t leave your dog unattended and tied up outside in public spaces or unattended in the garden, if they are vulnerable to passers-by.
Ensure that your dog is microchipped! This will increase the likelihood that your dog would be returned to you in the future if found by a member of the public and taken to the vets.
Staying safe online
An important safety measure for us here at K9 Nation is staying safe online. If you use other social media tools be wary of strange friend requests and tagging yourself regularly at the same locations.
We designed our app with safety in mind and we made sure that when you engage with the community your location is never disclosed. Each community member who has chosen to make their personal profile ‘public’ can be viewed by fellow community members, but the only location information ever shared is their geographical region, never anything more specific.
Members of the community who wish to access the content within the app, but prefer not to engage socially with other members, can simply change their profile to “private” in their settings to stay hidden.
What should you do if your dog is stolen?
Time is such an important factor with dog theft and you must act quickly. The first thing is to report the ‘theft’ to the police, not just a ‘missing animal’. Reach out to your local dog warden and council to notify them to be on alert as well as your vet and your microchip company. Get active on social media and spread the word tagging in local groups to help raise awareness as well as the more old fashioned method of local posters and flyers in your area. Try and be as specific and descriptive as possible and ask for help in people sharing and spreading the word.
There are a whole range of missing animal websites online so contact as many of them as possible for support and keep an eye out on selling pages.
It’s not all doom and gloom! There are plenty of people out there that want to support you as a dog owner, but it’s important to stay aware of the risks to make sure we keep our dogs safe.