If you use social media you can’t fail to notice the increasing numbers of posts regarding missing and stolen dogs across the UK and according to DogLost.co.uk a significant portion of these dogs are Gundogs. In the period between 2014 and 2015 there was an increase of 14% in the number of Gundogs disappearing from their homes or kennels and it is thought that many of these were stolen to order because of either a dogs working ability or breeding potential.
What can you do to reduce the risk?
While the thought of a loved family pet being taken or going missing from their home is every dog owner’s worst nightmare it is worth bearing in mind the number of dogs this happens to is still relevantly small when compared to the number of dogs across the country. However by taking some simple precautions and being vigilant you can help keep your dog safe and reduce the risks further.
- Never leave your dog unattended, for instance outside a shop.
- If your dog is being left make sure they are secure. If your dog uses an outdoor kennel make sure it is padlocked and you may want to consider CCTV if you have Gundogs in outdoor runs.
- Make sure your garden is secure as over 50% of dogs go missing from their own property.
- Be cautious about the details you share about your pet on social media. While we all like to post pictures and comments about our canine companions it can draw attention to your dog if your posts are available for public view. You should also be careful about giving indications of regular routines such as where and when you walk your dog or when your dog will be home alone.
- Be vigilant. If you see suspicious vehicles or people in your area take note of registration details and if you are concerned you can always have an informal talk with your local police officer. In rural areas dog theft is part of local officers briefing and you may find there will be a designated contact for this type of incident.
- Ensure your dog is microchipped which from the 6th of April 2016 is compulsory.
- If you are not intending to breed from your dog then consider having them neutered.
What to do if your dog goes missing or is stolen.
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in the position where your dog has gone missing and especially if you suspect they have been stolen then it is important to act quickly.
- Contact your local dog warden and police, bearing in mind that if you are close to a county border then you may have to contact more than one. If you think your dog has been stolen then ensure that you get a crime reference number from the police.
- Contact DogLost.co.uk who will help publicise your dog, provide posters, support and other resources if you need them.
- Contact local vets, rescue centres, dog walkers and other dog related business to help spread the word.
- Contact Petlog or relevant microchip company to alert them to the situation.
- Post the details of where and when your dog went missing on social media along with a description of your dog ensuring your post is made public so others can share it amongst their contacts.
- Keep talking to dog wardens, rescue centres and others bearing in mind that some dogs who have gone missing in one part of the country have turned up several hundred miles away sometime later.
As a final point making sure you have up-to-date photos of your dog and especially of any unusual markings can be of real benefit should your dog ever go missing. It makes the job of anyone trying to identify your dog so much easier if they have clear photos to refer to rather than relying on a verbal description which can be open to interpretation.