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Dog Theft

Positive Steps To Safeguarding Your Dog
Neil Ewart  FBIPDT
Chairman. Dog Theft Action.

There is  little doubt that the theft of dogs is on the increase although accurate statistics are amazingly elusive. 

Why steal a dog?  There are several reasons and these include obtaining dogs for fighting or breeding.  Others will be taken for hunting purposes and there are those where a ransom is demanded.  What an easy way to get your next ‘fix’ 

Finally, there are many dogs taken for no apparent reason- possibly because the perpetrator just likes the dog.

Everyone hopes that dog and owner will be reunited but so often this does not happen and the eventual fate of the dog is not known.

Every owner should treat their dog as they would any highly valuable possession.

  • Ensure it is microchippped or tattooed.  Although this will not prevent a theft taking place there is no doubt that the chances of getting a dog back  dramatically increase.
  • Keep an eye on your dog even when it is left in your own garden.  Also, do check your fencing is in good order.  I have personally had experience of a puppy being taken from a garden.
  • Never leave a dog tied up outside a shop.
  • Incredibly, a number of dogs have been taken from locked cars.  We all have to leave them on occasions but try to minimise the number of times.

If you believe your dog has been stolen then report it to the police and insist it is logged as a theft and not just  lost.

If your dog has been stolen and recovered can you actually prove it belongs to you?

There are even been marital break-ups where one partner was convinced they were the actual owner but then discovered they had no documentation.  I know of people who have ‘’boarded’’ someone’s
pet then refused to give it up claiming they had been given the dog!!  It is difficult to believe that this would cause problems and mean you do not get what you believe to be rightfully yours back.  However, it certainly can and has done so on very many occasions. 

What to think about:

  • On their own, possession of Registration/Pedigree documents may not be enough proof of ownership in court.
  • Also, Microchipping or Tattoing on their own are not proof of ownership.
  • When you obtain a dog-whether via cash or as a gift- ensure you have a bill of sale or documents confirming transfer of ownership.   I have often  tried to give advice to many who have not had, or kept any paperwork.
  • Take photos of your dog, especially any unusual or distinguishing features. And, if you have an appropriate camera, include the date the photo was taken.
  • If you are the owner of the dog (particularly in a relationship) and pay the food/vets bills then do keep some receipts.
Although the theft of dogs is increasing it still remains an unusual crime.  However, when it happens to you it is VERY distressing and goodness knows what happens to the many dogs which are never recovered.  Please do not assume it will never happen

For related articles click on titles highlighted above.

 'May The Force Be With You' describes Jackie Murdock's voluntary work on combating Dog Theft in the Thames Valley area.

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