Dog Theft, Keeping Your Dog Safe.



Your dogs are part of your family, and you naturally want to keep them safe. You also know about dog theft and the thought of your dogs being taken and sold to another family, or worse used in dogfighting, is a constant worry. Even though you may like to, you can’t lock your dogs up for protection like a gold bar. They are part of your family, so realistically you wouldn’t go there anyway.

While you can’t 100% take away the threat, there are ways you can significantly reduce the chance of anyone attempting to steal your dog. It’s not costly. It’s not going to stop the fun you have with your dog. It’s not going to disrupt or ruin your life. There are a few little things you can change in your life, which can greatly reduce the risk when added together. You may already do some but check the list and see if there are a few more changes you can easily make, the more, the better!

Any dog thief wants an easy life, and they don’t want to be seen or heard. Generally, they don’t want to attract attention or have someone shout out at them. They want to grab your dog and be gone quickly.

You need to sow as many doubts in the mind of any potential dog thief. Take away opportunities so that they feel there is too much risk in stealing your dog.


Let’s Start Sowing These Doubts.


What you are legally required to do

Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your contact details when in a public place. Generally, there is limited space on an ID tag, but at the very least the ID tag should give access to phone/mobile number or first line of address plus postcode.
Your dog should be microchipped by the time it is eight weeks old. You must register the microchip in your name and to your address.

A dog with an ID tag clearly shows the dog belongs to a family who will undoubtedly have had it microchipped. A microchipped dog with the dog’s family nearby is a riskier problem for a thief.


Let Us Take Away Opportunities.


Simple things really can reduce the risk

Take your dog for a walk and back home, then nip out to the shops. Don’t leave your dog tied up outside a shop while you pop in. It’s the easiest way for an opportunist dog thief to steal a dog. And the number of reported dog thefts this way proves the point.

The same applies to leaving your dog alone in the car. A thief only needs a few minutes to break into your vehicle, even a new keyless car, to steal your dog.

Social Media and posting beautiful pictures of your dog, come on we all do it, and why not, you are proud of your dog. Be careful of the volume of photos you post to your social media sites. Check the information you add to these posts. “Here is SALLY in our back garden”, the picture shows a low garden wall, no lighting, a side gate. The dog’s name/sex is provided. “Here we are on our usual morning walk past the old church at…”, time and place provided. Thieves search social media sites for this sort of informative post for dogs they have a demand for and can get easily. It is not to stop your fun or stop you showing how proud you are of your dog. Be careful how often you post and especially the information you add.

Letting your dog out into the garden, go outside with your dog or watch it from indoors. While this may not always be possible, or attractive, standing in the cold or rain, doing this as often as you can is an excellent deterrent.


When out walking your Dog.


Try and walk your dog with a friend as often as possible. It’s a good exercise for both of you and more fun.

We all have our usual walking routes and times, plus, dogs like routine. Not all dog theft is an opportunist theft as some are well planned. So, it is a good idea to change your walking routines frequently. Makes a fresh change and add’s more interest.

Walk your dog at a time and place where there is likely to be other people around. Especially in areas where other dog walkers are likely to be is a great deterrent.

Most of us do this, ensure you take your mobile phone, charged and ready, with you when walking your dog, just in case.

Be aware of people coming up and asking about your dog, walking and time routines. The more information a thief can get, the easier they can steal your dog.


Home Deterrent.


Have a side gate to the back of your property? Ensure all gates are fitted with good quality locks. When was the last time you came home and used the side gate to get indoors? If you need to think that’s too long, add a bolt lock. And if you can’t remember the last time, add a padlock. If the thief climbs over they will see they will have to climb back over while holding your dog. No thanks, it’s too risky. Gates with padlocks are a more difficult entrance/exit for burglars and can put them off altogether.

If you use your gate, then fit a key lock (mortice lock).

If you’re locking external gates, make sure there’s nothing either side of the gate/fence that could aid a burglar in jumping over. Is your wheelie bin close at hand? Is there a low wall leading up to the gate post/fence? Is there a tree overhanging the gate/fence they could use to climb over the gate?

Silence is golden, but not if you add some shingle to pathways leading up to your gates. Or around your border fencing.

Light up your gates, installing solar lights with sensors over gates is a very cheap and effective deterrent.

Sensor lights in your garden are also an excellent deterrent. Again, solar lights are perfect for this. They can provide good lighting in all shapes, sizes, colours and are very cost-effective. If you prefer to switch your garden lights on when you want, you may need an electrician. It will increase the cost, as well as the lights used, compared to solar lights.

Make sure your garden is secure with a sturdy high fence. Not only will it deter any thief, but it will also keep your dog safe.

CCTV, a burglar, spotting security cameras in the garden are less likely to consider breaking in. You will be able to monitor any outdoor space, the ability to check any previous footage and use it as evidence if needed. If CCTV is a bit out of your budget, you can buy convincing dummy CCTV cameras to fit at a lot lower cost.

You may think that you can’t afford it now, there is a lot here to do, and it’s to much trouble for such a small risk. Please rethink. The majority of suggestions cost nothing, and implementing one will reduce the risk of losing your dog to a thief and do more even better. Where there is a cost element, locks and lights, the security they proved can be very reasonable. A bolt lock can be found under £10 and solar sensor lights about £10+. These can be fitted by anyone, or if in doubt a relative or friend.


Links of interest:

How To Get Back Your Stolen or Rehomed Pet.

Stolen Dogs: Carmarthenshire and Briton Ferry Raids ‘Uncover 80’