Gundog Theft Awareness Week starts 31st October 2020
Daily across the LWDG Facebook Groups we see pleas for help to find a stolen dog, and it’s so incredibly saddening.
Where exactly these stolen dogs end up can be as equally heartbreaking.
If the owner is lucky, the dogs are found and reunited quickly, or another responsible owner purchases them quickly and at the very least the dog is cared for once more.
The worst that can happen, the thing we all worry about most, is them ending up somewhere uncared for, used for breeding, and disposed of when they no longer serve a purpose. As a dog owner, even writing that sentence fills me with horror.
But the sad reality is 2020 has seen a huge rise in the cost of working dog pups, and a startling rise in the theft of working dogs to feed the growing demand. Puppies that once sold for £600 a pup, are now selling for 3-4 times that much, making breeding dogs a new source of income.
So What Can We Do To Protect Our Dogs?
Simple things can make a lot of difference.
- We all love to post photos of our dogs on our social media, but check there’s no way your home can be identified from the image, or from other images you may have put up showing where your dog lives.
- Try not to make people aware of when your home may be empty. A photo of you going ‘out for the night’ can alert thieves your dog is unattended.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car. Opportunistic thefts are on the increase.
- 52% of dog thefts are from the garden so make sure your dog is safe. If possible make it difficult for people to see if you or the dog are in the garden.
- Do not post photos of your litters of pups. It is far easier, and less risky, for a thief to steal a pup and sell on for quick cash.
- Make sure your dog’s microchip is up to date. Have you moved, have your contact details changed?
- Ensure you have physical deterrents to put people off entering your property. Security systems that alert you of movement, whilst showing you a live feed of your dogs can help keep them safe. Outdoor security lighting can also make your home less appealing to access.
- Don’t encourage your dog to be comfortable with strangers touching them. It can make all the difference when you are out of the home and your dog is off-lead.
Have clear photos of your dog from the front, side, head markings, and unusual markings. If they were to be stolen, having these ready saves time. Include their microchip number on the images.
What Can I Do if The Worse Happens?
Make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ as quickly as possible.
Contact the police immediately. Also, contact your pet insurer as they may have systems in place to start the search for your dog alongside you.
You can call the police using the phone number -101
You can also contact DogLost on their phone number – 0844 800 3220. Their website is also full of information to support and educate you.
In the LWDG Free Facebook Community, we have a lost/stolen thread. Simply type the word stolen into the group search bar, and add your dog into the comments. This alerts the entire group that there is a gundog missing. Do this across as many other pet/gundog groups that you can post in too.
Sadly many dogs never get reunited with their owners so do as much as you can to prevent the theft.