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  • Writer's pictureJosephine Bell

How to safeguard against dognapping

Distressingly, dognapping in the UK has been on the rise since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With many people now working from home, the companionship of a dog has become an attractive prospect leading to high demand for both puppies and dogs - prices have rocketed, and so with it thefts. There’s a need for all dog owners, kennels and dog minders to be ever more vigilant.

Alarmingly, dogs are not only stolen from front and back gardens but also professionally run kennels. In September 2020 thieves scaled a 10ft fence and broke down the fire door of a kennel in Bedfordshire, stealing many valuable dogs. Dognapping is on the increase up and down the country.

Locally to Jordans in Bucks, clients have warned me about suspicious-looking people hanging around the fields at the end of Ledborough Lane as well as in the woods and fields at the back of Sandelswood End, Beaconsfield.

Various organisations have issued warnings about white chalk marks and red markings being left outside homes by thieves. These indicate that there is a dog worth stealing on the premises.

Dog breeds at the greatest of being stolen are:

Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Crossbreeds, Springer and Cocker Spaniels,

Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Jack Russell’s, Border Collies,

Bull Dogs, and French Bull Dogs.

Guidance to prevent dognapping by -

· Never leave your dog tied up outside shops, schools or other public places.

· Do not leave your dog unattended in your car. Theft from vehicles is now commonplace.

· Keep an eye on your dog when it is in your garden, as secure gardens are no longer a deterrent.

· Use an extending lead when out walking if your dog has poor recall. If off the lead, do not let the dog out of your sight.

· Vary the time and location of your walks.

· Consider getting a GPS tracker collar. These can provide vital location information, but thieves can easily remove them.

· Ensure your dog is microchipped - now required by law since 2016.

· Ensure your dog’s identity tag contains your name, postcode and telephone/mobile number, but NOT the name of the dog, as giving the name of your dog will make it easier for a thief to sell it on.

· Never give out information about your dog to strangers.

· Should the worst happen, register a lost at

Pet-friendly home security systems, which will not be triggered by your dog, are now advisable if not essential. Installing an HD camera to provide a video stream from outside to inside your house will enable you to keep an eye on your garden. If you have a large dog, it is best to seek professional advice on the type of home security system to install.

What to do if a dog is lost or stolen -

· Report any stolen dog to the microchipping database companies – there is no one central database; it depends on the registration chosen by the owner. Both vets and the police can scan and check a dog at facilities such as to identify and contact the relevant organisation. The microchip company will then reach out to the dog owner.

· Let your vet know; some people do take stray dogs to the nearest vet.

· Report your loss to the Police, obtaining a crime reference number.

· Check with your local council if your dog is with the local dog warden.

· Post photos of your dog – but not name - on social media, including local community groups.

· Put up posters in your local area if your dog went missing on a walk.

· Register a lost dog on the dedicated website



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