DOG THEFT AWARENESS DAY STARTS PET THEFT AWARENESS WEEK
The Stolen And Missing Pets Alliance’s (SAMPA) Dog Theft Awareness Day is in it’s third year, an annual event held on 14th March.
Prevention and Advice is top of the agenda while explaining why we need tougher laws to act as a deterrent to protect all our pets.
No one is safe from this crime, which hits families, the elderly and the disabled. The loss of a companion and family member is devastating.
With dog theft on the rise it’s a salutary reminder to all pet owners that no one is exempt from this vile crime. FOI figures from the police reveal 5-6 dogs are stolen everyday in England and Wales. This is just the tip of the iceberg as figures for ‘Theft By Finding’ are never included. In reality Doglost say more than 60 dogs are snatched every week.
Dogs are stolen from gardens, houses, parks, kennels, outside shops and cars. Nowhere is safe. Any breed is stolen but designer toy breeds and gun dogs are particular targets. Thieves even steal litters of puppies!
Reward or ransom for return can be demanded but most dogs are sold on to unsuspecting new owners, with some being used for breeding and worse dog fighting.
The Dog Microchip Regulations were only instigated to save money on stray dog kennelling and sadly the microchip system fails to help missing pets get home. Although it is compulsory to microchip our dogs it is optional for the veterinary profession to check pet and owner match, even though they state it is best practice as a recommendation, this loophole remains open.
Last year, SAMPA Patron Dr Daniel Allen’s Pet Theft petition asking for ‘pet theft to be reclassified as a crime in its own right’ reached 100,000 signatures in just four months, this illustrates the strength of feeling on the issue.
We got 100,000 petition signatures
We got a Pet Theft Debate
We have MP cross party support
We have a draft Pet (Theft) Bill
We need the Government to act now to protect our pets.
A change in the law is necessary to deliver justice for victims of pet theft as well as to work as a deterrent.
The draft Pet (Theft) Bill will create a new, separate criminal offence in its own right, recognising the self-evident fact that the theft of a living, sentient being is in a whole different category to the theft of an inanimate object:- https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0245/cbill_2017-20190245_en_2.htm
THEFT PREVENTION TIPS:
Don’t leave your dog outside a shop or supermarket
Don’t let your dog out of sight during exercise
Don’t leave a dog unattended in a vehicle
Make sure your garden, house and outside kennels are secure.
Check gates, lighting and think about CCTV
Be careful who can see your pet’s photos on social media
Change your routine regularly
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY:
Always have the following information in your mobile phone:
A clear photo of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings
Your pet’s microchip number
Local Animal Warden’s phone number
Your vet’s phone number
Your dog’s microchip database phone number.
Check your microchip contact details are correct and up to date and flag as missing.
Make sure your microchip details cannot be changed without your permission
Use social media
Poster, poster and poster again.
March 14th is #DogTheftAwarenessDay
SAMPA’s legal adviser Professor John Cooper QC explains his draft Pet (Theft) Bill sponsored by MP Ross Thomson who is waiting for a 2nd Reading date in Parliament :-