With 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.
“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.”
This 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.
A 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 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.
Buckinghamshire 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.
DogLost 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.
A 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.
Owners 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 email@example.com or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in complete confidence.
There 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”