Inspector Allison Wiggin, force lead for Rural Crime, said: “This month, we've had two reported dog thefts and one attempted, which have involved both pet and working dogs. Enquiries are currently ongoing with those investigations.
“We've also seen a small increase in reports of suspected suspicious behaviour (relating to dogs), which may be due to increased vigilance from owners. While these reports can sometimes turn out to be innocent, we would still rather be made aware. So if you do see or hear anything you feel is suspicious, please do let us know.
“We never underestimate the devastating impact the theft of a cherished pet can be to both the owner and the animal, and while it is still a rare crime, it’s sadly something we are seeing an increase in nationally.
“We are doing all we can to prevent offences and investigate those which have taken place. Please see our advice and if you do see any suspicious activity, report it to us.”
· Ensure your dog is microchipped, your contact details are up to date and they have an ID tag.
· Have clear photos of your dog/s showing any identifiable marks, in case you need them for identification purposes.
· Do not leave your dog tied up outside a shop or unattended in a car.
· If you do let your dog off a lead, keep them close to you, always within sight and ensure they have good recall.
· Ensure your property is secure and do not leave your dog unattended in the garden.
· Vary where you walk, including the times and locations.
· Be careful what you post on social media, especially if you have puppies, and ensure your privacy settings are up-to-date.
· Consider a GPS tracker collar.
· If you are thinking of buying a dog, ensure it is from a reputable breeder or centre. If you are buying a dog online or through social media, please consider where the pet has come from and ensure that it is being purchased legally.
The Blue Cross website has a wide range of advice on how to prevent theft of dogs and steps to take if this happens.