Crime, Latest News | Posted: Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 at 1:04 pm | return to news

Gundog thefts on the increase but as yet not in Dorset

Dog theft is on the rise and DogLost.co.uk has stated that almost 50% of missing dog reports across the country relate to working dogs.

Always buy from a responsible breeder and see the mother with her pups © CatchBox
Always buy from a responsible breeder and see the mother with her pups © CatchBox

The gundogs most likely to be stolen are cocker spaniels, springer spaniels and Labradors.

While Dorset has not seen a similar increase in working dog thefts in the last few years, there is no guarantee that trend will not extend to the county.  Now is a good time to assess your security and Dorset Police has put together some tips that will help prevent dogs from being stolen. The Rural Crime Team suggests that you put yourself in the place of a criminal – look at your property as if you were trying to steal a dog. How would you do it and how could you be stopped? If you find a way your dog could be stolen, take steps to plug the gap.

Dorset Police recommendations include:

  • If you are out working or walking in the field never leave your dog unattended and never leave it in a vehicle. 
  • Be aware of vehicles that may be following you.
  • If you have to keep your dog in the car for any period of time, ensure the car is locked.
  • Consider tinted windows or using a secured dog transit crate that can be locked
  • Use a tracking device for your dog when out walking
  • Be aware of who may be listening when you are talking about your dogs
  • Keep the pedigree and dog’s documents somewhere safe and out of sight
  • Ensure social media accounts are not accessible to all through privacy settings. Do not use a photo of your dog for a profile or cover image. More information on social media can be found here: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/social-media-guides
  • Vary your walks so you are not always in the same place at the same time
  • Review your home security. Ensure any ladders or tools are kept out of sight and secured, to prevent them being used to gain entry to your property
  • If your dog lives indoors, keep windows, doors and dog flaps locked and consider installing an alarm system in the house

For dogs that are kennelled:

  • Provide security lighting, ideally placed somewhere it cannot be tampered with
  • Alarmed gates, padlocks or passive infrared sensors that send text messages to your mobile phone when tampered with are a good deterrent
  • Remote access CCTV can enable you to regularly check on your dogs from your mobile device
  • Build any new kennels close to your home and try to disguise it as much as possible
  • Consider signing up to Dorset Alert – this free, two-way community messaging system, operated by Dorset Police, allows the force to exchange information with you by email or phone at no cost. Sign up to receive information about crime and anti-social behaviour, witness appeals, crime prevention, community events and local good news

If your dog is having a litter of puppies:

  • Be particularly vigilant, as new puppies have no identity
  • Don’t make the fact that you have a litter pubic knowledge and try to have company if you are expecting visitors unknown to you
  • Show prospective buyers the puppies one by one. If a buyer raises your suspicions this is likely to be because something isn’t right. Report anything that feels untoward

If you want to buy a puppy or dog:

  • Always buy from a responsible breeder, see the mother and, if possible, the father. Kennel club registered breeders are listed here: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dog-breeding/the-kennel-club-assured-breeders/
  • Always collect the puppy from the breeder’s home
  • Never buy a dog from the boot of a car or off the Internet or free ads paper
  • Never meet the seller or breeder halfway to collect a puppy and never have it delivered
  • Once you get your puppy or dog home, make sure it is checked by a vet and the chip details are correct

What to do if your dog is stolen:

  • Act quickly. Contact Dorset Police by calling 101. Alert the council dog warden and RSPCA in case the dog is handed in
  • The local dog warden service can be found here: www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/environmental-health/dog-warden-service.aspx
  • Contact DogLost – a national community of dog owners and volunteers who help reunite lost dogs with their owners. Details are at: www.doglost.co.uk/
  • All dogs must, by law, be microchipped. Make sure your details are up to date and report the theft to Petlog at www.petlog.org.uk
  • Take photos of your dogs from several angles and keep them with your dog’s documents. These can then be circulated quickly in the event of theft
  • Social media is a useful tool to spread the word if your dog is stolen, making them “too hot to handle”. Be aware of hoaxers claiming to know where your dog is if you provide money. Pass any leads to the police for them to follow up

Report suspicious activity

If you see anyone acting suspiciously, or suspicious vehicles, gather as much information as possible and report to the police. Registration numbers and descriptions are particularly useful. Call Dorset Police immediately on 999 if the vehicle or persons are seen committing crime or 101 for non-emergency queries or incidents. You can also register information via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or via the Dorset Police website www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online. If you wish to remain anonymous,  call NFU Online Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 783 0137 or visit www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk

Dorset police officers are trained to offer crime prevention advice, particularly in rural areas. If you would like a bespoke crime prevention visit to your rural home or business please send an email to the team at ruralcrimeteam@dorset.pnn.police.uk. Further crime prevention advice can be found at www.dorset.police.uk/ruralcrime

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