Advice to owners for prevention
It's heartbreaking for people when a loved family pet is stolen.
If there have been reports of pets being stolen in your area, our advice would be don't panic, but it is wise to be extra careful.
Putting in place a few measures can help prevent your pet from being stolen or becoming a target.
- Never leave your dog outside a shop on his own or in a car unattended.
- Train your dog to come back when called, and never let them off the lead if you're not sure they'll come back to you. If in doubt, use a long-line lead, especially if you're in an unfamiliar area where your dog may get lost more easily
- Check your garden to make sure it's secure and if you have a gate then fit with a lock. It's also suggested to fit a bell to the gate so you hear if anyone opens it.
- And don't leave your dog unsupervised in the garden, or at least keep them in view.
- The best way of making sure you can be reunited with your dog if it becomes lost or stolen is to have it microchipped. It's now a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped, but the key thing as well is that you must also keep your contact details up to date on the database, so if you move home or change phone number. And it really does give owners peace of mind and the best chance of being reunited with their pet.
- Keep recent photographs of your pet and make a note of any distinguishing features. And photos of you with your pet.
- Take care when choosing someone to care for your dog if you're going away from home or need a dog walker whilst you go to work. Use a reputable company or boarding kennels and check references for people who provide dog or house-sitting services.
- Neuter your pet as this can reduce the likelihood of roaming.
- When they're in a public place, every dog must wear a collar with the name and address of their owner engraved on it, or on a plate or tag attached to it. This will help you find your dog if they go missing. We also recommend including your mobile phone number on any ID as this can help reunite you with your pet quickly should he ever get lost or stolen. Cat collars should be quick release to prevent injury.
Advice to owners if their pet is stolen
If the worst does happen and your pet does go missing or you think its been stolen, there are some steps you can take to have the best chance of being reunited with your pet.
- Check your home and local area thoroughly.
- If you believe your pet has been stolen you should report it to the police as a theft as soon as possible. That way they can pick up any trends if it's happening more frequently in a certain area.
- Phone the microchip database that your pet is registered with and report them as missing, so that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.
- Report it to your local dog warden, your local vets, animal hospitals and rehoming centres.
- Register your pet on missing pet websites such as Petslocated, Dogslost or the National Pets register.
- Make posters and display them in local areas like parks and vet surgeries. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances.
- And social media sites like Facebook can also be really useful for spreading the word in the local area so that people can keep an eye out for missing animals.
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