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Commissioner issues advice for protecting your pup

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston, is marking Dog Theft Awareness Day (Monday 14th March 2022) by sharing tips for keeping your pet safe.

“As a dog owner myself I understand that dogs are beloved family members and the theft of one can be truly devastating,” Darryl said.

“Punishments are often related to the monetary value of the dog and therefore often result in trivial fines. They simply do not reflect the pain this callous crime inflicts,” he continued. “The Government have recently announced proposals for a new dog abduction offence which will take into account the emotional distress caused to both the owner and the dog. It will also help judges to hand down more targeted penalties and sentences for pet thieves.

“I, along with many dog owners in the county, very much welcome these proposals.”

There are simple things that pet owners can do to protect their pooch from predatory thieves:

• Keep an ID tag on your dog at all times (your surname, mobile number and address only, do not include your pet’s name).

• Secure gates using bolts at the top and bottom, along with a heavy-duty padlock and gate alarm.

• Never leave your pet in the garden unattended.

• Purchase a driveway alarm so you are alerted to any intruders, these can also be used in rear gardens and yards.

• Make sure your dog is microchipped and their details are kept up to date so that they can be returned if they are stolen and subsequently found.

• Avoid leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or left alone in a car, even for a few minutes.

• Take lots of photographs of your dog to prove ownership if it’s stolen; pay particular attention to any distinguishing markings on your dog

Dog owners who have fallen victim to pet thieves should also be wary of scammers who see that someone has a missing dog and contacts the owners claiming to have the dog and will return it for a cash reward. If anyone demands money for the safe return of your pet contact the police.

If your dog has been stolen, you should report it to the Constabulary online or by dialling 101.