Pet theft advice
Pet theft advice: how to prevent your dog from being stolen
Unfortunately, the popularity of dogs has led to a rise in dog theft, with thieves looking to cash in while demand is at an all-time high. Thankfully, there are lots of preventative measures you can take to reduce your pets chances of being stolen.
We’ve put together our best advice for keeping your pet safe. We’ve also included a helpful infographic that you can save and share on social media to keep other owners informed.
A microchip is a legal requirement for all dog owners in the UK and soon a law will be passed to make this compulsory in cats. Without a microchip it is significantly harder to reunited a pet with it’s owner. Microchips are only £19.99 at Orchard House Vets and last the lifespan of your pet. A simple scan of your pet using a chip reader will show your details so it is also vital that your keep your details up to date on your pets microchip!
Report suspicious behaviour
Be vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour. Although no two thefts are the same, there are some tell-tale signs that pet thieves are operating in the area.
- Report people acting suspiciously in parks. Anyone stopping dog owners and asking them lots of questions about their dog could be identifying potential targets.
- Report people leaving marks in front of houses. There are reports of thieves leaving chalk or spray paint markings in front of houses they intend to target.
- Keep an eye on local community groups and online message boards. Pet owners will often report suspicious behaviour to help keep others safe.
- Don’t hesitate to contact the police by calling 101 if you witness any suspicious behaviour.
Don’t leave your dog unattended
Leaving your dog unattended can make them vulnerable to dog thieves. Take the following advice into consideration to help keep your dog safe.
- Try to avoid leaving your dog tied up outside shops or in other public spaces. This makes them an easy target for dog thieves.
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the car, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You should always take your pet home before popping to the shops if you’re on your own. Thieves can easily break into your car and take your dog.
- Make sure your garden is secure. Keep an eye on your dog when they are in the garden, try not to leave them unsupervised.
- Install security cameras. If dog thefts are common in your area, consider installing cameras on your property.
Make sure you can prove your pet is yours!
Dogs can be mischievous and if they were to stray too far from you, or slip the lead, would you be confident that they could be identified as your dog? Only 30% of UK cats are microchipped so owner dispute is a very common problem in the uk!
- Make sure your pet is microchipped. Dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, according to UK law. This helps them to be identified if they get brought into a vet. Cats can be microchipped around the time of their first vaccine also.
- Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and has an accurate ID tag. Your pets ID tag should have your name and address on it. This is a legal requirement if you take your dog to public spaces. A mobile number is also useful, although not a requirement.
- Avoid putting your dog’s name on their ID tag, as this could lead to thieves calling their name to coax the dog over, giving thieves a false sense of familiarity with the dog. Cats are obviously different as very few cats come to call!
- Keep your contact details updated, if you change your phone number or move house, be sure to update the information on your pets ID tag.
- Take plenty of photos of your pet. Make sure to regularly take clear pictures from different angles, detailing distinctive markings, just in case. Having lots of photos of yourself with your pet will help to prove that you are the owner.
- Make sure your dog comes back when called. Spend plenty of time doing recall training with your dog. If your dog struggles with recall, it’s safer to keep them on the lead.
What should I do if my pet goes missing?
If your pet does go missing, you should report it immediately. The sooner that you get information out there, the better. Here’s a checklist of who you should inform:
- The police, by calling 101
- Your neighbours
- Your online community dog walking page
- Your local council
- Your vet and other local practices
- Local animal rescue centres
- The database with which your pets microchip is registered
Share as much information as possible: details of when and where your pet went missing; if they have any distinctive markings; if they were wearing a harness/coat or collar.
Being responsible for over 70% of lost pet reunions is no stat to be ignored, but unfortunately too often microchips are ignored. The government should announce in 2022 the compulsory law to microchip cats and this will go a very long way to reuniting owners with their pets!