Now then woofers, I know I’m not the bravest girl in the world and certainly couldn’t be a gundog for real, but, us beautiful breeds are targets for naughty dog thieves and the good people at Pet Theft Awareness are having a special week for us right now.
So, whether you’re a Labrador-type like me, a Spaniel-type like Teagan, or anything in between, get your humans to pay special attention.
From the Pet Theft site:
Why are people stealing working gundogs?
The answer is obvious.
Gundogs are valuable – it is as simple as that. They are pedigree dogs and they can be sold as working dogs or used on puppy breeding farms.
Dogs are snatched from the field or bundled into a vehicle after a shoot.
Whichever way they are taken the outcome is the same.
Pet Theft Awareness has first hand accounts from victims who have had their working dogs stolen from under their noses.We also know of dogs who have been stolen then recovered on puppy farms.
Prevention is always best:
Be aware of others around you. Is there anyone around who is unfamiliar? Are there any unfamiliar vehicles?
Keep close eyes on your dogs especially and know where they are at all times.
Be prepared to act quickly if you see a risk of a theft.
Look out for others too and ask them to do the same for you.
Gundog Gone? What to do immediately:
The faster you act the better your chances of a safe return are.
Write down as much information as possible regarding the circumstances, vehicles in the area or anything which could help.
Contact the police a soon as you realise your dog is missing.
Contact friends and start an immediate search of the area.
Put a message out on Facebook including an image of your dog. Tell your friends to share.
Tweet too with as much information as you can including a recent photo of your dog.
If you have not done so already activate your dog’s details on DogLost.co.uk and visit their site for help and information.
Our sponsors VioVet have a gundog theft blog:
Mum also found an article on the recently formed Stolen & Missing Pets Alliance, with an interesting infographic thingy which shows 2013’s dog theft statistics.
Also from Shooting UK:
According to figures collated by advice service DogLost, numbers of gundog thefts have been steadily rising since 2009. In 2013, the organisation recorded a year-on-year increase of around 15 per cent and reported that half of all stolen dogs were gundogs.
Of almost 12,000 missing dogs registered with DogLost in 2013:
- 723 were Labradors
- 429 were springer spaniels, and
- 426 were cocker spaniels
In the first three months of 2014, dogs registered as missing already include:
- 160 Labradors
- 97 cocker spaniels, and
- 80 springer spaniels
Mum says people should also be aware that even though most of us woofers are considered part of the family, if we are taken the law acts as though we are replaceable property. This makes Mum sad as she says I’m irreplaceable and even though I’m getting old and epileptic and arthritic (and a cancer survivor, go me!) she will always do all she can to keep me safe at home and away.
What the law says:
Whether a Labrador or a laptop is taken, the maximum penalties at law are the same:
- Simple theft, say from a public place or car: 7 years in prison
- Burglary, involving illegal entry into a building to commit the crime: 14 years in prison
- Blackmail, for instance where a ransom is demanded: 14 years in prison
- Minimum sentence: community service/a fine
Lastly, Mum was sent a troubling piece from CCTV.co.uk about dog thieves tagging pet owners’ homes with paint…she thinks it’s appalling and would like to do things that I can’t repeat here, I’m a lady you know, to the naughty humans that cruelly steal much-loved pets away.
Here’s some of what CCTV had to say on the matter:
Dismissed as a hoax in 2013, CCTV.co.uk says it has learned of reports of dog theft where paint marks have been left on gate posts or door frames. Other reports say thieves are photographing houses that they intend to target. The only solution is increased vigilance, the company says.“As dog owners ourselves, it’s a nasty crime spurred only by financial gain,” says spokesman Jonathan Ratcliffe.
CCTV.co.uk says that organised groups are identifying likely animals while they are being exercised in parks, following them home and recording the homes for future reference. Animals that appear to be pedigree breeds or pups of high value are often targeted more often.
“The animals are then stolen to order and used to breed puppies that can sell for hundreds of pounds each,” says Ratcliffe. “Puppy farming is cruel enough without it being the result of criminal enterprise. It needs to be stamped out.”
CCTV.co.uk says it’s a distressing crime that separates much-loved pets and show dogs from families carried out by people who have no feeling as to the hurt they are causing.
“It’s all about making money, and pet theft is seen as a relatively easy crime because most homes have relatively low levels of security,” says Jonathan.
CCTV.co.uk says that they’ve been asked to install more security systems from householders and dog breeders concerned about their security, amid reports of growing numbers of thefts.
“People are genuinely concerned about dog theft gangs,” says Ratcliffe. “Whether or not they’re marking the houses of potential victims, the threat is real enough.”
Jonathan, a cocker spaniel owner himself, also got in touch with Mum as he’s interested to hear if any of you have feedback about using CCTV to deter dog thefts. We’d love you to leave your thoughts below.
*not a sponsored post just very important.