Everyone knows that a dog is a great family addition and everyone in Essex loves their dog.
Sergeant Ben Felton, one of our Rural Engagement Team Sergeants, said:
“No-one should have to face the distress of losing their dog because of someone else’s callous act. “I want to reassure our dog-lovers in Essex that incidents of dog theft are low and we want to keep it that way. “We’ve always worked hard to deter those intent on this type of crime, and I want to show the public the strength of my team’s commitment to tackling the issue.”
Pet abduction is being considered as new criminal offence in England under the government’s 2021 proposal to combat this crime.
Speaking about the proposed changes, Sergeant Felton, explained:
“The proposal is a recommendation by the pet theft taskforce. "Changes to the act would give us an additional tool to halt this crime by making it more difficult for thieves to abduct and sell on dogs, to bring perpetrators to justice and the penalties will reflect the theft’s impact on dog owners.”
Last year, we launched Op Re-unite, led by Chief Inspector Terry Balding, our response to intelligence concerning illegal breeding and organised dog thefts, resulting in new cross-border practices with our neighbouring forces to track down thieves and to prosecute anyone involved in pet-related crimes as well as reuniting owners and their dogs.
Our advice to dog owners
Our advice to dog owners to keep their dogs safe is as follows:
Ensure your dog is microchipped and registered on a database. All dogs in the UK must be chipped by the age of 8 weeks old.
Always keep your dog in view: don’t leave them outside unsupervised.
Never leave your dog secured alone outside a shop. This could make them a target for opportunist thieves.
Use a collar and dog tag displaying contact details but don’t put your dog’s name on the tag and use only your surname.
Take plenty of good, clear photographs of your dog to make identification easier. Take regular photographs of your pet from various angles showing, for example, groomed and with long coats. Make a note of any distinguishing features. Also take lots of photographs of yourself with your dog, it helps prove ownership if needed.
Train your dog to come back when called and never let them off the lead if you are not sure they will come back to you. If in doubt, use an extending lead, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area where your dog may get easily lost.
If you think your dog has been stolen, or you have information regarding dog theft, call us on 101 or in an emergency 999.