French Bulldog falls to second spot Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Bedfordshire Police has issued advice to dog owners following a regional increase of dog thefts

After the nation went into the COVID lockdown, the demand for puppies increased dramatically, which in turn increased puppy prices. The message (sent via Neighbourhood Alert) added that this has resulted in criminals stealing dogs for profit.

Bedfordshire Police is working with police forces across the eastern region, UK Pet Detectives, DogLost and Pets4Homes to tackle this type of criminality.

All dog lovers are asked to help to spread this safety message in order to prevent much loved pets being targeted by criminals.

To discourage offenders please don’t buy dogs from social media sites or from anyone who cannot provide appropriate documentation.

Before purchasing your dog make sure you check the proof of ownership, health check and pedigree papers. Additionally, ask to see the puppy in their home environment with their mother.

To minimise the chance of becoming a victim yourself, please make sure that you are following safety advice:

  • Be vigilant and cautious of suspicious individuals or markings seen around addresses, any cold callers and strangers approaching you whilst out dog walking
  • Ensure your dog is microchipped and registered with up to date information and has a collar and dog tag (use your surname rather than the dog’s name and your telephone contact)
  • Take plenty of clear photographs of your pet and especially of any distinctive markings
  • Never leave a dog unattended in the garden, in the car or outside shops
  • Don’t give details of your pets, your location or your favourite walking spots on social media and make sure your security settings are set to friends only
  • When out, always know where your dog is. Be mindful of anyone who may be trying to distract your attention from your dog or attract your dog’s attention away from you
  • Avoid leaving dogs in outside kennels if at all possible. If not possible then make sure the kennels are alarmed – experience tells us padlocks alone will not stop thieves!
  • Ensure all gates are locked at top and bottom with a shoot bolt and padlock and consider fitting a bell or gate alarm
  • Ensure the garden or yard boundary (fence, hedge, etc) is secure so that no one can gain entry or pull your dog out. Ensure the dog cannot escape through any gaps
  • Consider driveway alarms to alert you to intruders and combine this with the use of monitored CCTV that will alert you via your phone or tablet instantly
  • For more rural locations, think about uWatch, a multi-purpose security device that does not require WiFi or additional lighting.
  • A list of all licensed breeders is available on your local authority’s website (Bedford) (Central Bedfordshire)

If your dog is stolen – report it to Beds Police by visiting its online reporting centre or by calling 101. You can also contact your local authority dog warden. (Bedford) (Central Bedfordshire)

Notify your microchip database provider immediately and advise Doglost.co.uk either via their website or Facebook page. They will offer help, support and advice.

Bedfordshire Police will support anyone wishing to set up a local DogWatch group – please email crimereduction@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk for more information.