West Yorkshire Police issue dog theft prevention advice as crimes increase
West Yorkshire Police have issued a series of tips to prevent people from becoming the victim of dog theft.
Of those stolen, just 28 dogs were found, with 81.3 per cent of dogs not recovered.
Two arrests were made in relation to the reports of dog theft - just 1.3 per cent of all recorded cases.
In March, DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, recorded a 170% increase in the crime, from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 in 2020.
In a Facebook post, West Yorkshire Police said it was "very much aware of the emotional impact of a dog being stolen."
"We want to prevent dog thefts by raising awareness and offering some tips which may help keep your dog safe," they added.
The dog theft prevention tips are as follows:
Keep An Eye At All Times
The most important thing to do is keep an eye on your dog at all times. When you are out in public make sure you know where they are, and if they can’t be trusted off the lead then don’t risk it. Keep your dog on your property when you are at home, don’t let them wander around the neighbourhood.
Secure Your Garden
Only leave your dog in your garden if it is secure. It’s worth checking fences for gaps and getting gates put in to keep your dog enclosed. You don’t want them to be able to escape, or anyone to get into your garden easily.
Don’t Leave Your Dog In Your Car
If you leave your dog in your car with the windows down then they are a sitting target to thieves. They can easily force open windows or reach in and grab your dog, it only takes a few seconds.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside Shops
For a long time it has been a common sight to see a dog tied up outside a shop. Due to the increase in dog theft, and some dogs being stolen in this situation, it’s probably best to refrain from doing it. If you have to walk to the shops with your dog, take someone with you to sit outside with them.
Report Any Incidents
If you see any suspicious behaviour or people come up to you and start asking strange questions about your dog, report it. You could prevent an incident from happening in the first place.
Be Wary Of Strangers
Be wary of anyone who comes to your front door, or admires your dog in the park. Do not let them hold your dog or take photos with them, it could just be a way of distracting you.
Collars, Tags & Microchips
Your dog must have a collar with an ID tag on it. Put your second name, phone number and address. Do not put your dog’s name on the tag, as someone trying to steal them will try and call their name to get them to come over. Get your dog microchipped and state on their tag that they are microchipped.
Keep Your Documents Safe
Keep all your dog’s insurance and important documents somewhere safe. That way you can easily access them in an emergency.
Check Up On Dog Walkers/Sitters
Don’t just hand your dog over to anyone, even if you get a recommendation from a friend it’s worth doing a background check. Try and find out if they are registered with any bodies and whether or not they have any qualifications.
Get alarms installed or bells fitted to your garden gates so that they will alert you to any intruders. They might also put off any potential dog thieves.
Train Excellent Recall
Take the time to train your dog to come back to you on command. This will help if you need to get them to come back to you quickly, if you think they are in danger. It also means they are less likely to run off on walks and in public places.
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