We've received several queries in relation to the speculation over dog thefts in the county in recent months.
Please be reassured there has not been a spate of dog thefts here.
To give you some context, in the past year between December 2019 and December 2020 we have received 26 reports which relate to thefts, attempted thefts, and/or suspicious activity that could be perceived as a pre-cursor to an attempted theft of dogs by unknown suspects. Of those 26, eight involved a dog physically being taken. And although for those eight owners this crime is very distressing, these figures show that fortunately this type of crime is not a major one in our county.
However, we are never complacent; members of our Intelligence Department, Community Policing Teams and Rural Crime Team liaise regularly with our neighbouring forces to share information to help us to proactively manage different crime types, and this is one of them.
If you are thinking of buying a dog, then the Dogs Trust and the RSPCA have some useful tips on their websites to help you avoid purchasing from a puppy farm, and how to choose a reputable breeder or contact a recognised rehoming centre.
If the purchasing of dogs is carried out through recognised or credible breeders or centres, then the unscrupulous individuals who decide to steal dogs in order to breed from them to make money, often keeping them in poor conditions, will have no market to sell to and this should enable the crimes nationally to decrease.
And, it's always better to be safe than sorry - please ensure you are taking basic precautions to keep your dog safe. For example, ensure your dog is microchipped and their details are updated, and make sure your home, garden and kennel(s) are secure.
Please report any suspicious activity to us via 101 or our website. If a crime 'is in action' then please dial 999.
Published on Thursday 24 December 2020.