South Yorkshire Police reassure pet owners after a spate of dog thefts during coronavirus pandemic

South Yorkshire Police have moved to reassure worried dog owners after a spate of thefts in the county.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:30 pm

Officers today revealed they have begun 63 investigations into dog theft since July 2020, and have offered important safety advice to owners worried about becoming a victim of this distressing crime.

A spokesperson said: “We understand how important dogs are to their families and know the impact this type of crime can have.

“We want to reassure you that we, like other forces across the country, are actively carrying out enquiries linked to dog theft and attempted dog theft.

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South Yorkshire Police have investigated 63 dog thefts since July 2020.

“Please remain vigilant and report any incidents to us, as well as anyone you see acting in a suspicious manner. We will continue to act on this information.

“We’d also like you to tell us about any adverts you see regarding dogs for sale locally where information appears unusual or limited.

“You can speak to us on our live webchat, report online or call 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.”

Officers also offered a number of tips to any concerned dog owners to help them protect their pets.

These include never leaving your pet tied up unattended, for example, outside shops, and making sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are now required to do by law.

You should also ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip and check with your vet every year that its details are up to date.

All documentation relating to your dog should be kept in a safe place in your house, including clear photos of your dog’s front and side profiles and any unusual markings.

When leaving your dog with someone else, use a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer with clear documentation, unless you know someone who is trustworthy that will care for your dog in your absence.

You should train your dog not to go out of your sight on walks, using an extending lead if the dog does not comply, and you should vary your walk times and routes and stay alert by avoiding using your phone.

Owners should beware of strangers who show an interest in their dog, and avoid giving details out about their dog or allowing people to have their photograph taken with him or her.

People should also ensure their garden or yard is secure and always keep their dog in view when it goes outside, and the garden should also be checked regularly for wear and tear or gaps so that it keeps the dog in and any trespassers out.

The spokesperson added: “If you believe your dog has been stolen always report it to the police via 101 and also report it to your Local Authority’s Dog Warden service, local vets and rescue centres.

“If your dog is microchipped, report it to the microchip company and register it as lost or stolen. This will give you a better chance of being reunited with it if it is found.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.