Reported cases of dog thefts ‘very low’ in Sheffield, says South Yorkshire Police
Although there has been a spate of dog thefts in Sheffield, the number of reported cases is actually "very low", said South Yorkshire Police.
The force said while they understand that people share these stories on social media to make others aware, they could cause dog owners unnecessary stress and anxiety.
They also said it is not uncommon for them to receive calls from dog owners who expressed their concerns about stories of travelling criminals targeting dogs.
In a statement posted on Sheffield South East Neighbourhood Team Facebook page on Thursday (March 18) , they said: "The number of dog thefts reported is actually very low.
"Well-meaning people share these stories on social media to make others aware, but often only spread urban myths that cause dog owners unnecessary stress and anxiety.
"Although not common, dogs do get stolen. If it does happen, it is important to act quickly. Owners should always be vigilant and follow our security advice from Designing out Crime Officer Dene Tinker."
The police said dog owners are advised to follow these tips below in order to protect their dog from being stolen or getting lost.
• Ensure your pet is microchipped and registered with up-to-date information.
• Invest in a collar and name tag, and use your surname rather than your pet’s name on name tags. Make sure to include your telephone number so you can be easily contacted if your pet is found. Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag as this is a legal requirement when your dog is in a public place.
• Take plenty of clear photos of your pet and remember to include any distinctive markings that could identify them.
• Not leave your dog unattended in the garden, the car or outside shops if at all possible.
• Review your social media security settings, and be careful with the details you share, especially when it comes to your pets, your location or your favourite walking spots.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and know where your dog is at all times when out walking. Be mindful of anyone trying to distract you or draw your dog’s attention away from you. If you feel that someone is following or watching you and your dog in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, move away from them and call police.
• We know that some dogs may live in kennels outside. Please ensure you make it as hard as possible for some to break in. Use multiple locks and have CCTV cameras covering the kennel as a deterrent.
• Ensure all gates are locked at top and bottom with a shoot bolt and padlock.
• Ensure gardens and yards are secure so that no one can gain entry or pull your dog out. Make sure fences and hedges are secure, with no gaps that a dog can squeeze through.
• Consider driveway alarms and CCTV – these can act as a visual as well as a physical deterrent.