Under government plans, people who steal a canine companion could face up to five years in jail if convicted of dog abduction, under a proposed new criminal offence.
Pet thieves, dognappers, certain members of the public and organised groups have been taking pets unlawfully; around 2000 dogs were reported stolen last year.
As most pet owners would agree, pets are not just property that you attain, rather a non-biological member of the family and so it is only right that the laws have been altered to suit this situation. Before, when pets were stolen, they were treated as an object and a loss to the owner, however the horrible truth is that it’s not just the owners who are affected when this happens.
Tougher laws for those who commit pet theft have been put in place to help fight against these crimes from happening, dognappers could be sentenced up to five years imprisonment, acknowledging the emotional distress caused for the family and dog. While this is a great movement and will help, there are still cases of pets being “napped”.
So you may ask yourself, what can you do to help prevent this from happening to you and your pet.
Ways to safeguard your house and garden
To help prevent you from falling victim to this crime, it is worth having working CCTV around your home, mainly outside areas, the back and front garden.
To help with the imagining, outdoor sensor lights are also great, this will not only provide a beautifully lit scene to capture the criminals faces but could also scare them off.
Ensure all entrances to your home are safe and secure, and not accessible unless done so by people who have permission to enter your home.
Don’t forget, if you have back gates that may lead off to an open space, keep these secure too, maybe invest in anti-climbing gear that can prevent unwanted people from climbing in.
Some owners keep their pets outside in kennels, if you do, opt to re-home them inside the house or be sure to keep the kennels as close to your property as possible.
How to protect yourself from dog theft when out and about
Most pet parents take their canines on many errands with them through-out their day, so being alert and aware at all times of suspicious people and where your dog may be left unattended is important.
Things you should avoid when your pet is out with you:
- Don’t leave your dog in your car
- Don’t leave your dog outside shops
- Be wary of strangers especially if they approach your dog
Microchip your pet to help prevent theft
Protection can be shown in many forms, and ensuring your dog is microchipped with an appropriate collar with all the owner’s information is crucial, if your dog did fall victim to being dognapped, there is a higher chance of your pet being found and brought back home.
How to prevent pet theft when walking your dog
Walking your dog is a daily essential and you may have a lovely routine and route that you take everyday, without realising, you may not be the only one who is aware of this route that you walk your dog.
It may seem like unnecessary hassle, but dognappers can sometimes prey on their victims, knowing exactly where you walk your pet makes the chances of them being successful even greater.
To help prevent this, try and take different routes everyday, keep them guessing and your dog will love the level of excitement this may bring.
Walk your dog in busy parks and try to limit your walks to daytime only.
If you do notice any suspicious activity or feel threatened, be sure to notify the police immediately, or dial 111.
Know your dog walkers and pet sitters
At some point in time, most owners will have to have a dog walker or even a pet sitter to help with the care of their pet. This is great and most companies are brilliant, however you can never be too sure and some may present as dog walkers/sitters but in fact may be a fraud.
Be sure that anyone who has your dog is background checked with all required documents and evidence stating what they claim they are.
When to be extra vigilant regarding dog theft
Dog theft has risen since lockdown, so be sure to have all the safe and secure methods you need in place to help prevent this awful crime from happening to you.