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Dog Theft - How we can all help to stop it

National Lockdown, working from home and social changes have all contributed to the rise in dog owners across 2020/2021. Rescue centres have been inundated, dog breeders have seen a steep rise in interest and adverts for puppies on local “free sites” have boomed.

WHY DOES THIS MEAN THAT MORE DOGS ARE BEING STOLEN?

With an increase in demand has come an increase in the price of dogs, particularly puppies. It has opened up a market where anyone can make money and here lies the problem.

There is no law against your bitch having a litter of puppies once a year and you selling the puppies on. The only time you have to be a registered breeder is if you are raising and selling multiple litters a year.


What do you do if you don’t have a dog to breed from or puppies to sell? Well you steal someone else’s of course!

Dogs and puppies are either being stolen and sold on straight away or stolen to be used in puppy farms or commercial settings to breed litters. The problem is that the thieves are not aware which dogs are spayed or not. They are targeting ANY dog, particularly those in the market where there is an increased current demand.



TIPS TO FOLLOW WHEN LOOKING TO BUY A PUPPY OR A DOG


· Register your interest with rescue centres to foster or adopt. Fostering is a great way of seeing if a dog can fit in with you.


· Rescuing a dog isn’t always an option if you have other animals or a small child. Our old dog was a rescue but our little one George is now 2 so nowhere will rehome with us until he’s 8 or older.


· If you want to buy a dog (like we did) do your research. Check what breed will suit you and your family. What do you want from a dog?


· Go to a reputable breeder - https://www.dog-breeds.co.uk/ this has a list of all registered breeders in the UK and also lots of tips when you have decided you want a dog. If you are looking for a Pedigree go to https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/find-an-assured-breeder/ for a list of the Kennel Club’s assured breeders.


· Ask lots of questions. When we decided to get our pups the breeders were fantastic. We got pictures of mum and dad, all their papers, medical history, recent videos of all the pups and pictures every day. We also got copies of all the vet checks, 1st vaccinations and KC registrations.


KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY


You’re desperate for a four legged friend but knowing when to walk away with help you and the pups in the long run.


· Ask to see Mum and Dad. Granted, not everyone will have the Dad there as he may have been a stud. Ask for the contact details of their owner to get in touch. If they are reputable breeders they will be happy you are doing this. If mum is NOT present with the pups walk away.


· Do your research on puppy training, feeding, worming, chipping, vaccinations….then ask the “breeder” to give you advice on each one pretending you don’t know. If they have the pup’s welfare at heart they will be clued up. If you feel they have no clue at all leave.


· If they DO NOT ASK ABOUT YOU, your family, where you live and previous experience this is a warning sign.


· Trust your gut, if you think that a pup is priced to high say, if you think a pup is too young walk away. Anyone wanting to rehome a puppy at 8 weeks or younger does not have the pups interests at heart, it means they do not have to pay for their first vaccinations.


· Do not take a pup because you think the conditions they are in are terrible and you want to rescue it, you are not helping. However hard it is, walk away and call the RSPCA and report what you found. These people will only continue to steal dogs, breed from them and abuse them if people keep doing this.


TOP TIPS TO HELP PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM BEING STOLEN


There are daily reports of dogs being stolen from gardens, from inside people’s houses and even when you walking. Below are a few tips to make it hard for thieves and to put them off stealing your Pooch.


1. Get your dog chipped – it won’t always help it being stolen but it can help with it being found.

2. Never leave your dog outside a shop unattended

3. Try and walk with another person and dog (socially distanced)

4. Avoid areas with little footfall or road traffic.

5. Carry a personal alarm or a walking stick.

6. Contemplate teaching your dog to bark on command, something simple as this can make someone think twice on approaching you.


If you are unable to prevent a dog theft try and stay calm and take in as much information as you can. Remember what the person or people looked like, any car details such as make model and registration and take pictures or a video. Remember the direction they drove off in if you can and call the police STRAIGHT AWAY.


No one ever wants to be in a situation where their dog is stolen but we can all do our bit to help but a stop to dog theft.