“Co-operation and Co-ordination – The Only Answer”
Dog Theft Action or DTA hopes to encourage as many organisations as possible to draw attention to dog theft in its many forms. DTA was set up in January 2005 by people who have had bitter experience of dog theft. Our website provides information and support to the victims of dog theft. Contact details to help in the search at that crucial time and suggestions to reduce the likelihood of dogs being stolen are available. DTA hopes that by encouraging dog owners to be aware of dog theft they will adopt strict security measures to protect their dogs and their homes against dog theft.
We invite the many agencies – the police, dog wardens, RSPCA, local authorities, veterinary organisations, the Highways Agency, the Kennel Club, the National Neighbourhood Watch Association, the National Dog Tattoo Register, Network Rail, service and assistance dog organisations, breed societies, dog training clubs and groups, rescue centres and sanctuaries – who have the power, the experience and the expertise to unite together to reduce the statistics associated with dog theft.
DTA hopes that a national register of data on missing dogs can be set up and made available to all these agencies and the general public. DTA is in favour of microchipping and tattooing and want dog owners to be reassured that scanning for microchips and checking for tattoos does take place, properly, all over the country – even on deceased dogs. We would like vets to scan all new dogs prior to routine treatment so that the presence of a chip can be identified and cross referenced with Pet Log and tattoos with the National Dog Tattoo Register. There is evidence that some vets are already performing this service.
DTA hope that attitudes to dog theft will soon change! This is an aspect of law and order that receives little or no attention from central and local government and the police. The police station is usually the first point of contact when a dog has been stolen or found. Missing and stolen dogs are logged as stolen property in most police forces because The Home Office directs that they are logged as such. This means that we can only estimate the true figures attached to this distressing crime.
Theft of a dog is a crime and the police have and will continue to have responsibility for recording all reported thefts. DTA believes that a crime number should be issued when the theft of a dog is reported and a distinction made between dogs and property. We also believe that if all police stations have microchip scanners many more ‘found’ dogs could be reunited with their owners immediately. Stolen dogs are frequently found miles away from home, or allowed to remain with the finder for a period of time that often goes unmonitored. Owners often live in close proximity to several Local Authorities. A dog may be found, kennelled, re-homed or destroyed before its owners have had the opportunity to search all potential establishments. If information and photographs were stored on a central database time and money could be saved and more and more happy reunifications would take place!
Dog wardens are in the very epicentre of this confusion! We have been surprised to learn that many do not have on line access. DTA believes that all dog wardens should be able to access a national database of missing and found dogs. We would encourage all Local Authorities to make computers and training available to their dog wardens, to make their tasks less complicated. We would likewise encourage dog wardens to collate and post information on a national register, to assist their colleagues, nationwide. The Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act will have a major impact on responsibility for stray dogs. The sections that define this responsibility are not likely to change until 2007. The public should inform their local authority dog warden (or the police, if out of office-hours) about “found” dogs.
It is surprising how little people know about the law where it refers to found dogs. Many people who have had a dog stolen are expected to be comforted by the thought that someone has taken their dog in and is giving it a good home. It is illegal to take in a dog without notifying the police or dog warden. Local Authorities have different time limits for re-homing or destroying found dogs so it is vital that information is made available on a national level, which is why we support the concept of a national database for lost, stolen and found dogs.
How can the general public help in this facet of law and order?
Be vigilant! If a dog suddenly appears in your neighbourhood and you are concerned/suspicious about its origins, contact the local authority dog warden and/or the police. Visit lost and found websites on the internet to see if the dog has been registered with them.
Get involved with the initiatives published on this website.
Write to your MP, MEP and local councillors about your concerns about dog theft.
Write to your Chief Constable asking pertinent questions about the procedures concerning dog theft in your area.
Write to your local authority to ask what procedures are in place to deal with lost, stolen and found dogs in your area. Ask particularly what happens when dogs are killed on the roads!
If you are not satisfied with the feedback you get – write back and say so!
Help the victims of dog theft by putting up posters of missing dogs up in your area.
To achieve these aims we will be talking to as many organisations as possible in order to draw on their expertise, experience and resources. Our by words are co-operation and co-ordination. DTA does not have the answers to this problem but there are many organisations and individuals who can make a huge difference and we invite them to participate in this campaign to make the UK a safer place for dogs and their owners!
|The UK's National Lost Pet Microchip database and Lost Pet & Found Pet Reunification service.||We are here to help stem the rising tide of dog theft and rural crime in the Thames Valley area.||With thanks to Dogs Trust for their support.||The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs.||DTA is pleased to support Pet Theft Awareness, a campaign which highlights the danger faced by owners of all pets and horses. Please support them!||With thanks to Our Dogs for their support.|