Sheffield dog owners warned as thefts expected to rise following Christmas

Dog thefts are expected to rise following an increase in pooches bought as pets over the Christmas period.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 10:57 am

South Yorkshire detectives are encouraging people to familiarise themselves with the necessary steps to keep their dogs safe from theft, as there is expected to be an increase in new dogs in homes across the country following Christmas.

Reports of dog theft are low at present in South Yorkshire, with only two reports received in November.

In order to ensure that figure remains low, police are advising owners take precautions to protect their pets.

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Police have issued advice to prevent dog thefts (Martin Dalsgaard (Pexels stock photo)

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South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for serious acquisitive crime, Temporary Superintendent Jamie Henderson, said: “While dog theft is extremely rare, in the few circumstances where it does occur, we know it can be heartbreaking.

“For many, dogs are not just a pet, but a member of the family, and it is important that you do all you can to keep them safe.

“We know that around Christmas, there is an increase in people buying dogs to give as gifts, and we want to encourage all those who have bought or received a dog this Christmas to make sure they take the necessary steps to protect their new addition.”

The force has issued the following guidance.

Think about security and ensure your garden or yard is secure – check for wear and tear or gaps. Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden. Consider CCTV or security lighting, which will also deter burglars looking for other valuables. Ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip and check with your vet every year that details are up to date. Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place – include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog, and any unusual markings. Limit public social media posts, they can highlight your pet as a potential target.

South Yorkshire Police said it is just as important to make sure that dogs are protected whilst out with their owners.

The following advice has been issued:

Never leave your pet tied up unattended, for example, outside shops. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are now required to do by law – include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode and if there’s room, put ‘microchipped’ on the tag if your dog has a chip. Train your dog to stay in your sight on walks or use an extending lead if they aren’t keen on listening to you! Vary your routes and walk times and stay alert – don’t be on your phone the whole time and keep an eye on your dog and your surroundings. Beware of strangers who show interest in your dog – don’t give details about your dog and don’t allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog.

Temp Supt Jamie Henderson added: “As a force we continue to tackle this devastating crime by working closely with partner agencies and gathering intelligence which helps us uncover the activity of dog theft criminals.

“However, we know that highlighting crime prevention advice like this among the dog owning community, and encouraging them to take those extra security steps.”