March 14th – 21st is Pet Theft Awareness week in the UK.
Pet Theft Awareness is the name of an organisation in the UK dedicated to raising awareness of the issue of pet theft. It is lobbying for changes to UK law making pet theft a crime punishable by a custodial sentence, and is also involved in campaigning for compulsory scanning of found pets to improve the chances of them being reunited with their owners.
The UK is a nation of dog lovers. Millions of pounds are spent by dog owners every year on dog-related products designed to make their dog’s life more comfortable. Bark Busters Home Dog Training therapists work every day with owners who want the very best for their dogs.
It is unbearable to think that your beloved dog might be stolen from you and it is often a thought that we don't consider. We often prefer to think that something like that couldn’t happen to us; but it could. It happens to many people around the country every day, and brings heartbreak to family members who can only imagine what is happening to their beloved pet.
At Bark Busters we are committed to helping owners do the very best for their dogs. Keeping your dog as safe as possible is a very important aspect of caring for your dog, and the following tips may help you to keep your dog safe.
- Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop. It is very easy to dismiss this first, very important, point - maybe, because you’ve always done it. We should also be aware that times have changed, as have laws on leaving dogs unsupervised in public. The number of dogs that are taken when left tied up outside shops is becoming greater and greater.
- Make sure your garden is secure. Not only should your dog be unable to escape from the garden, nobody should be able to enter without your knowledge.
- Be vigilant on walks…thieves will take dogs on leads from owners. They may bend down and pretend to pet your dog whilst unclipping the dog from the lead and making off with him. In other cases, they may simply snatch the lead from an unsuspecting or vulnerable owner.
- Make sure your dog is microchipped. New UK legislation that comes into force from April 2016, will make this a legal requirement. So do this as soon as possible.
- Get your chip checked every time you visit the vet.
- Make sure your contact details are kept up to date.
- Take regular photos of your dogs. If your dog is stolen, you will haveup-to-date photographs of your dog to publish and share on Social Media sites. You can also use the photos to print posters and flyers, and to provide information for the dog wardens, Police, and lost dog websites.
Some extra advice from Bark Busters:
Our Bark Buster Home Dog Training Therapists meet many owners who say they want their dog to bark when someone knocks at the door or rings the bell, as they think a barking dog will deter a potential intruder. It is unlikely that most pet dogs would deter an intruder and it's possible that a barking dog will flag up to a dog thief that a dog lives in your house, and may make you a target.
It is important for owners to have control of their hallway and front door. Your dog does not need to be first to the door to welcome visitors - this is the owners job. Preventing your dog from answering the front door is another way to help keep your beloved dog safe from dog thieves.
Speak to your Bark Buster Home Dog Training therapist about how we can work with you on these issues.
If the unthinkable happens and your dog is stolen, act quickly and try to take the following actions.
- If your dog is microchipped, report the theft to the microchip provider.
- If your dog is snatched, try to take photographs of anyone involved in the crime including vehicles used. Write down as much information as you can straight away.
- Contact the police immediately.
- Put a message out on Facebook and Twitter and other social media websites, including an image of your dog. Ask your friends to share your posts.
- If you have not done already, activate your dog's microchip details on DogLost.co.uk and visit their site for help and information. It may also be helpful to install the doglost.co.uk app for your phone or tablet.
- Put up posters in case someone recognises your pet.
- Contact the dog warden. Thieves might dump your dog if they are worried about getting caught. Dog wardens deal with found dogs. The more identification your dog holds (microchip, WaggTagg™, collar and ID tag), the quicker he will be reunited with you.
www.WaggTagg.com All dog owners new to Bark Buster clients issued with a Bark Busters WaggTagg for their dog(s). This is a complimentary unique identification tag that is attached to the dog’s collar. Each tag can be registered on the WaggTagg website. If a dog is found the tag can be scanned, using a smartphone or mobile device, by anybody finding your dog. A message can be sent to the owner of the dog to let them know their beloved pet has been found. The details can also be entered manually in the WaggTagg website too.
DogLost.co.uk is at the forefront of reuniting dogs and owners in the UK. A truly unique non-profit website which lets you promote your lost dog, create missing posters and notify other users and organisations in your area of missing dogs. It also provides valuable help and expertise from their nationwide network of volunteers. Also works with the Halo Scanner, Angel scanner, providing quick and easy identification of missing dogs when found by rescues and local authorities.