Due to the pandemic, the market for dogs has seen an increase in demand, which has resulted in an increase in the number of dog thefts nationally. Unfortunately, this demand has led to criminals taking advantage of the situation and targeting family pets to make fast money. Although there have been reports on social media of attempted dog thefts locally, during the period October 2020 to May 2021 only one attempted theft has been reported to Sutton police and one actual theft to Merton. It is extremely important that you report any attempted or actual dog thefts directly to the police ASAP via 101, online, or in an emergency 999; before thinking about posting anything on social media platforms.
This will allow you to quote the Crime Reference number or CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) number and enable anyone with possible information to pass on that information to police quoting that reference number. Once a report has been made to police, further advice or services of such charities that target lost dogs may be sought and found to be useful.
The following police links may be useful:
We encourage dog owners to always be mindful when exercising their pets and to consider the following information:
Never leave your pet tied up and unattended, such as outside shops or unsupervised in your garden.
Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are required to do so by law. This should include your surname, telephone number, address, and full postcode and if there’s room, include the word ‘microchipped’ on the tag if your dog has a chip.
As of 16th April 2016, it is compulsory for owners to ensure their dog is microchipped.
If your dog isn’t microchipped and registered on an approved database, then you could be served with a notice ordering you to microchip your dog. You will have 21 days to do so or you may be liable to pay a £500 fine and could face criminal prosecution.
If your contact details change and you do not update your details on the database, you could also receive a notice and may be liable to pay a fine of £500.
A dog is only exempt from being microchipped if a vet certifies in writing that they cannot be microchipped for health reasons.
Ask your vet to check your dog’s microchip every year to ensure your details are accurate and up to date. It is obviously to your advantage if your dog is lost or stolen to have current details recorded.
Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place; include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog; make a note or take a picture of any unusual markings.
Be cautious when choosing someone who will care for your dog(s) while you are at work, in hospital or on holiday. Be clear about when the dog will be handed over and who will collect it ensuring that you have recorded full details of the carer.
Use a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer with documentation to this effect unless you know someone who is trustworthy that will care for your dog in your absence.
Train your dog not to go out of your sight on walks, and if this is not possible use an extending lead if the dog does not comply. Vary your walk times and routes; walk in pairs with a family member or friend and try to stay in well-lit areas and to main roads.
Beware of strangers who show more than a passing interest in your dog: don’t give details about your dog or allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your pet.
Ensure your garden or yard is secure. Check it regularly for wear and tear or gaps. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden, do not leave it unattended.
If you spot any suspicious behaviour or have any information about a stolen dog, you can report it to police on 101 or online https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/
If your dog is stolen, then it’s vital to report it to police but also consider:
Report to local authority – Sutton Council and notify your microchip database provider: https://www.sutton.gov.uk/…/1222/stray_and_lost_dogs
Report to www.doglost.co.uk as they coordinate thefts for each county and offer advice and support.