A warning to Hampshire residents to stay alert and ensure your dog is not left out of your sight.
That is the warning tonight over a rise in sightings of suspicious individuals approaching dogs and trying to befriend them with treats before abducting pets in Hampshire.
There have been several reports in a matter of days from Eastleigh, Fair Oak, Hedge End, Christchurch and Ringwood. (other areas are also affected but records are not available)
There was also a report of a dog owner having to fight the would be thieves off their beloved dog in another county at Waterman’s park, Brentford.
Both thieves on foot and in vehicles have been witnesses bythe public and dog owners targeting dogs whilst they are in the garden, usually left to play alone.
A White Ford Transit, Reg: YH53 PLU (Pictured) has also been seen acting suspicious in the area of Eastleigh and surrounds, keep your eyes open and if seen inform police of the behaviour and location.
You must ensure you keep your dogs safe as The number of dogs stolen across Britain has risen by 6.8 per cent in just 12 months, with an average of five dogs stolen every single day, Last year, 1,909 dogs were reported as stolen to police forces compared to the 1,788 stolen in the previous year before. There is more than 60 Dogs in the UK stolen every week, don’t let yours be next.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously around yours or neighbours gardens especially if they have dogs report it to police immediately, if there is a crime actively taking place dial 999, take a note of any vehicles and persons seen, if possible and safe to do so take a photo to help identify the offenders, police recieve many reports but lack information essential to tracking down the culprits.
Here is how to keep your dog safe;
The law has now changed and you MUST now have all dogs Microchipped by law. This is also essential to protect your dog, and ensure it can be identified if lost or stolen.
Think twice before leaving your dog tied up outside a shop. You will make them a vulnerable and tempting target for opportunist thieves.
Beware of strangers asking you questions about your dog.
Vary your times of walks and routes; some dogs are actually targeted and snatched during walks.
Don’t leave your dog alone in the car, even for a few minutes. Thieves can easily break into your car to steal your precious pet.
Make sure your dog is microchipped and that you keep your contact details up-to-date, especially if you move house or change your telephone number. Dogs and puppies in the UK must be microchipped by eight weeks old, by law.
Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on it. This is a legal requirement when your dog is in a public place. A mobile number is also a good idea, but avoid putting your dog’s name on the disc.
Take clear photographs of your dog from various angles, and update them regularly. Make a note of any distinguishing features.
Have lots of photographs of yourself with your dog, to help you to prove ownership if needed. Train your dog to come back when called, and never let them off the lead if you are not sure they will come back to you. If in doubt, use an extending lead, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area where your dog may get lost more easily.
Take care when choosing someone to care for your dog if you are 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.
At home, make sure your garden is secure and fit a bell to the gate so you hear if anyone opens it.
Keep your dog in view in the garden, don’t just leave him outside unsupervised.
If you breed puppies for sale, take great care when inviting people in to view; ideally have someone else present and limit the numbers of people you allow in at a time. Show the puppies in one secure area.
Decide who owns the dog in your household. Discuss who would own the dog in the event of bereavement or break up and draw up documentation to this effect. This may seem unnecessary, but pets can become the centre of ownership disputes in these circumstances.
If you are unfortunate to have you dog stolen remember these key points;
If your dog is lost or suspected stolen, it is important to act quickly.
Report the loss to your local council’s dog warden and those in all other neighbouring local authorities.
Visit places where dog walkers go such as local parks and public places and talk to people, asking them to keep an eye open for your dog.
If you believe your pet has been stolen, report it to the police and insist it is recorded as a theft and not a lost animal. Ask for a crime reference number.
Report the loss/theft to the microchip database, this will ensure that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number, you will be informed.
Make posters and display them in areas local to your home and also in relevant places such as vets, local parks etc. The poster should include a clear photograph and details of the circumstances.
Make sure local vets are aware in case someone takes your dog in for treatment.
Report the loss on as many as possible of the missing animals websites – there is no single national missing animals database, so you will have to place the same information on all of them to ensure a widespread appeal
Contact local animal shelters and rescue charities and send them posters to display.