MPs support Dog Theft Awareness Day

Gavin WilliamsonSome 50 MPs supported Dog Theft Awareness Day at Westminster.

Organised by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance – of which DogLost is a leading member – and hosted by Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson, the day highlighted the growing crime of dog theft and the devastating impact on owners.

Gareth Johnson opened the day by saying: “Dog theft is a particularly nasty crime which causes great distress to the owners and to the dogs themselves.

“It is a rising issue in this country with hundreds of dogs being stolen every year. Too often dogs that are stolen are simply reported as missing and very few are ever returned to their owners.”

The day gave MPs the opportunity to hear about the issues from SAMPA members DogLost, Vets Get Scanning, Pet Theft Awareness and Dog Union as well as victims of dog theft, the police and dog wardens.

MPs were then asked to pledge their support for tougher sentencing for dog theft; reclassification of dog theft crime and compulsory scanning of microchips.

Paul O’Grady and actor Peter Egan sent messages of support, and Talk Radio broadcaster Paul Ross told everyone: “Dog theft is a cruel and callous crime that tears the heart out of families – a vile act perpetrated by evil people. Time to make the punishment fit the crime.”

PoliceTV vet, Marc Abraham said: “Dog theft is a growing crime in this country, with all dogs of any size and breed being vulnerable; basically no dog is safe. In my opinion as a profession vets have a duty to educate dog owners of the dangers of dog theft, how best to protect their four legged friends, as well as scanning and checking microchips to help reunite stolen, stray, and missing dogs, as well as dogs that have been sold on.”

Nik Oakley for DogLost and SAMPA said: “The crime is largely unpunished as few cases reach court, and because dogs are regarded as goods any sentence reflects the value of the dog not the impact on the victim who has lost a member of their family.

“Police statistics vary across the country and are simply the tip of the iceberg. They show how a force records dog theft rather than the size of the problem. Neither do they record the crime of ‘theft by finding’ where a dog goes missing and is picked up and sold on or kept as a pet or for breeding.

“Until scanning of microchips is compulsory by vets, rescues and other authorities there can be no guarantee that a dog will be reunited with its rightful owner.”

Graham Evans MPVets Get Scanning’s Debbie Matthews – and a key member of SAMPA – said: “Dog theft is a crime that affects many and scares all dog owners, many of who contacted MPs asking them to attend.  We had  a steady stream of MPs, many of who are dog owners themselves so they totally understood the issues and that we need better deterrents in place to stop dog thieves and compulsory scanning of microchips to help reunite dog and owner.”

Photos

Top: Marc the Vet with Government Chief Whip, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP. Middle: Jane Frankland, Police Liaison Co-ordinator & Wayne May, Emergencies Co-ordinator DogLost (centre) with police officers from the Met, Kent & Thames Valley. Bottom: Debbie Matthews with Cheshire MP Graham Evans.

Dog Theft Awareness Day

DTAD SM graphicWith dog theft rising by 24% over the last three years, DogLost members are being urged to ensure their MPs attend the Dog Theft Awareness Day in Westminster in March.

Hosted by Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson, The Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance – of which DogLost is a part – aims to bring the issue to the forefront of MPs across the country.

Gareth has already raised the issue in Parliament and is keen to support the Alliance’s work to encourage tougher sentences for those involved in the crime.

MPs will be invited to drop in to the day, which will include presentations by celebrity vet, Marc Abraham and police officers leading the offensive against the surging crime.

Dog owners are being asked to contact their MP and urge them to attend the day, which is on Tuesday 14 March. Anyone who has been a victim of the crime should send a photo of their dog and get their MP to bring it along.

MPs are also being asked to sign the Alliance’s pledge to combat the heartless crime and back tougher sentencing and compulsory scanning of microchips.

Said an Alliance spokesperson: “The crime is largely unpunished as few cases reach court, and because dogs are regarded as goods any sentence reflects the value of the dog not the impact on the victim who has lost a member of their family.”

Continued an Alliance spokesperson: “Police statistics very across the country and are simply the tip of the iceberg. They show how a force records dog theft rather than the size of the problem. Neither do they record the crime of ‘Theft by finding’ where a dog goes missing and is picked up and sold on or kept as a pet or for breeding.”

The four organisations comprising SAMPA are DogLost – the country’s largest reunification organisation; Pet Theft Awareness; the Dog Union and Vets Get Scanning – run by Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter, all of whom have a common interest in pet theft.

Stolen more than two years ago but reunited for Christmas

puggy-1-copy“What would your best ever Christmas present be ?” said DogLost’s Jayne Hayes as she called the owner of a Pug stolen more than two years ago.

Owner Maurice Loscombe couldn’t quite believe his ears when he heard that his beloved Pug, Puggy, had been scanned at a vets 45 miles away. “Oh, my God” he screamed “I can’t believe it, I’m going to cry.”

The first long term reunited of the Christmas season was the result of Wild Boar Vets in Worksop scanning Puggy when he came in with an unsuspecting owner. Using the DogLost Halo scanner Puggy’s chip flagged up the need to contact DogLost.

Said Sharon Clayton: “This is the first time this has happened to us and it demonstrates the importance of scanning. We are so happy for the owner, and Puggy was so pleased to see him.”

Puggy was originally stolen in a house burglary in Beeston, Leeds in March 2014 and sold on twice. Said Jayne Hayes: There are two victims here, Maurice and the unsuspecting family who bought Puggy seven weeks ago.”

Gundog theft initiative

day1-stats2016bThis week highlights the plight of gundogs who are increasingly being stolen for breeding or the black market

Gundog Theft Awareness week seeks to raise awareness of the number of gun dogs stolen every year. The breeds most commonly stolen are Labradors, Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels and DogLost statistics reveal that in 2015, 356 Labradors, 276 Cocker Spaniels and 168 Springer Spaniels went missing – mainly stolen.

Run by the Pet Theft Awareness team, they will be offering advice to owners on how to keep dogs safe, what to do if they become a victim and buying and selling gundog puppies.

The awareness campaign is being run through social media and DogLost and its partners in the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance are supporting the initiative.

 

 

Dramatic rescue at Beachy Head

bonnie-rescue-2A field spaniel who went missing on Sunday from near the Bomber Command Memorial on Beachy Head on the south coast, was rescued dramatically yesterday by coastguards and fire and rescue.

The spaniel Bonnie was feared to have fallen from Beachy Head when she couldn’t been found by DogLost or the owner’s family – one of whom thought she heard her bark near the cliffs.

Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard were assisted by Newhaven together with East Sussex Fire & Rescue. Teams scaled down the cliffs and spent two hours trying to locate Bonnie and when the owner’s son Andrew arrived and called her name, her faint barking identified the spot.

bonnie-rescue-1Bonnie was found 25ft deep down the cliff face in a crevice just 18 inches wide. It was a delicate and chancy operation to get her out. A member of the Fire & Rescue rescued her and both were hauled to the top by Coastguards using rope rescue equipment where she was reunited with her owners.

DogLost’s East Sussex Area Co-ordinator, Gina Clarke was on hand to support the family and she said “It was touch and go as to whether the crew would be able to get her out. We are so grateful to the crews for the three hours they spent on the rescue and I am pleased to report that Bonnie was unscathed.”

The touching moment when Bonnie was reunited was captured by Gina, along with a crew from Hat Trick Productions who has been following Bonnie’s case.

 

DogLost condemns ‘dognapping’ storyline in Emmerdale

emmerdaleA dognapping story line in ITV soap Emmerdale  has enraged the country’s animal lovers as they have taken to social media to vent their anger.

In last night’s episode, characters Charity Dingle and Ross Barton plot to steal a Samoyed by luring it away with food.

Whilst DogLost would encourage raising the awareness of dog theft through the serious and sensitive inclusion of the subject in a drama, it cannot condone its trivialisation in a current story line in Emmerdale.

Thousands of dogs a year are stolen in the UK and DogLost works hard to support owners subjected to this crime. We work closely with police forces up and down the country and are campaigning with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance for tougher sentencing.

DogLost has made representations to the executive producer at Emmerdale asking for the story line to be amended with an appropriate outcome.

DogLost Co-ordinator walks for charity

sandie-megan-ppuBuckinghamshire Co-ordinator, Sandie Robertson and her  Old English Sheepdog, Megan, have been walking to raise money for Pedigree Paws Unite.

The 160 mile walk – with all 216 recognised dog breeds in the UK – is in aid of dog and children’s charities across the country. It’s organised by the Peek a Boo Trust, set up by the owners of DogLost’s celebrity supporter Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Jilly, after she won Crufts three years ago.

ped-paws-uniteDogLost benefited from their first sponsored walk, Jilly’s Jolly Jaunt, and is encouraging members to sponsor Sandie and Megan after completing their leg in Cambridgeshire.

The walk continues all week at locations around the UK

You can donate through Virgin Money Giving and follow the walk on their Facebook page.

 

BBC report highlights dog theft

Youths The law and YouA report by the BBC has highlighted the growth in dog theft across the UK.

Using statistics obtained form Police forces around the country, the report identified the huge variation in reporting and the need for tougher sentencing.

The story was picked up by all regional TV news programmes and many of the BBC local radio stations.

Said DogLost spokesperson, Nik Oakley, “The report gave us the opportunity to talk about the growth of dog theft and the impact on owners. We were also able to highlight the fact that statistics demonstrate how police forces react to the crime rather than just the size of the crime.”

DogLost was featured in most of the programmes as well as offering case studies of stolen dogs for both radio and TV.

The story was also picked up by Radio 4’s You and Yours and on 5Live. It also made the headlines on Radio 2 and the BBC News Channel.

Together with Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson, DogLost was able to make the case for the need for tougher sentencing for dog thieves and a specific offence of pet theft.

Cruel hoaxer demands money for missing dogs

police-officersOwners of lost and stolen dogs are being asked to be on their guard for a man demanding money for their return.

Numerous owners have been called by a man who says he has their dog and will harm him if they don’t pay £400 or £500 into a Post Office. Owners who have asked for photographic evidence that he has the dog are faced with aggressive behaviour.

One owner – who asked not to be named – said, “Fortunately I had taken advice from DogLost and I immediately asked for some evidence that he had my dog. Although I had been warned it was a hoax, the caller was very abusive and threatening.”

Like most of the calls that are being made from the withheld number, this owner was told he had 10 minutes to take the money to the Post Office.

Said DogLost Police Coordinator, Jane Frankland “Sometimes he states he knows where owners live, but that’s impossible as only telephone numbers or emails are displayed on websites where the missing dog is listed.”

Unfortunately a number of dog owners have been taken in and police across a number of counties are investigating.

Owners confronted by a person demanding money for the return of their dog should phone the police on 101 immediately.

Anyone with information on the alleged extortionist should contact investigations@doglost.co.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in complete confidence.

 

Fear of fines leaves dogs unclaimed

dogscanned01There is evidence that since the introduction of compulsory microchipping at the beginning of the month, more dogs are being left unclaimed.

DogLost coordinators believe that the rise in unclaimed dogs is due to the fear of being fined £500 for not having a dog chipped.

A DogLost spokesperson said: “At this very early stage we think it is highly unlikely that an owner would be fined if they claimed their dog. Dog Wardens will advise owners to get their dog chipped within 21 days and they may subsequently check that.”

“We would urge all owners to claim their dogs and not be in fear of reprisals”