Police issue dog theft warning after claims of pets going missing at Forge Dam

Police have warned dog owners to be vigilant and to report thefts after a number of people claimed that pets were being stolen in the Forge Dam and Hillsborough areas at the weekend.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 10:24 am

One dog walker claimed she had been told that thieves were walking around the parks with leads and were clipping them to dogs that were running off leash and ‘disappearing with them’.

Paul Newman, of South Yorkshire Police, issued a warning to Sheffield dog owners.

He said: “Please be aware that a specific crime is on the increase in the Sheffield area.

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Forge Dam Park.

“The crime is regarding the theft of dogs. All ages of dogs are being targeted that are being left outside shops and in some cases people have been approached and asked if they would ‘sell’ their dog.

“This obviously is a scam. Please be aware that sending young children out with their pets can also be risky, make sure who ever takes out the animal is in complete control of it.

“If you let you dog loose in the grounds of your property make sure it is safe and no one can take it away.”

Police say that while they are aware of lots of anecdotal claims of dog thefts like this, only a small number are reported, making it difficult to understand how widespread the problem is in Sheffield.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “The issue of reported dog thefts is a national one, but the key is that individuals must report suspicious behaviour or dog thefts to police so that we can better understand this type of crime, where it’s happening and undertake enquiries to identify those responsible.

“We are aware of lots of anecdotal information on social media, but very few incidents if any have been reported to police. Please contact us if you do have any information about this type of crime. You can report this via 101 or contact us online.”

This comes as records showed that 2020 was the worst ever year for dog thefts in England.

The rising demand for dogs in lockdown meant that prices increased, and stealing them became more luctarive for criminals.