Dog thefts further Kent Police response
April 21st 2021
Useful material from Kent police worth publicising
Dog thefts in Kent have increased slightly since 2019 from 101 reports to 118 reports in 2020. As of about a week ago, there have been 28 reported thefts so far this year.
Kent Police works with partner agencies, charities, volunteers and, of course, our neighbouring police forces to tackle acquisitive crime, including dog thefts. This helps us to build up a picture of the issues around the country and ensure we can protect the people of Kent by sharing information and offering advice where possible. To build this picture, we rely on members of the public reporting offences and suspicious incidents, so please continue to report using 999 in an emergency, or 101 and online https://www.kent.police.uk/ro/report/ “Live chat” options are also available.
It is important that anyone who has been a victim of dog theft or has witnessed anything suspicious reports incidents to us so that we can identify those targeting pet owners and ensure they are arrested and prevented from continuing with this criminal activity. Local crime series are managed by the Divisional Criminal Investigation Department (CID), or sometimes the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, depending on the complexity of the investigations. Where organised criminal groups are identified who are involved in stealing and selling on of dogs, or anything else for that matter, they are targeted by the Serious Crime Directorate, who use specialised covert tactics to disrupt and prosecute offenders. As you can appreciate, we do not publicise this activity in order to protect the nature of the tactics.
In regards to crime prevention specifically related to dog theft, we recommend the following:
• Make sure your dog is microchipped and your contact details are up-to-date
• Keep good quality and up-to-date images of your dog taken from different angles, noting any identifiable markings. Consider tattooing to aid visual identification. This helps us to return your dog safely
• Avoid leaving your dog alone in a garden which is not secure, or in an area where it can escape or make it easy for people to take it
• Consider adjusting the security in your garden by using things like gate alarms or additional lighting
• If you do not have a solid recall, use an extendable lead
• Vary your dog walking routes, try not to be a creature of habit
• Be careful of strangers asking questions about your dog. Be cautious and consider positioning yourself in front of your dog if you feel uncomfortable
• Avoid leaving your dog unattended outside a shop, for example, and never leave your dog locked alone in a car
• Check social media privacy settings and avoid advertising your dog and your location
• If you suspect your dog has been stolen, report it immediately. Notify your local dog warden, vets and your microchip provider
• Consider using a mobile phone location application, for example, What3Words and Hollie Guard to aid response
If your dog is missing:
• Contact your local council dog warden in case the dog has been picked up as a stray.
• Check local vets, rescue centres and kennels to see if your dog has been handed in.
• Register your dog free of charge with www.doglost.co.uk
• Take regular images of your dog from several angles so a missing poster can be distributed.
Kent Police continues to recruit, despite the pandemic, so we can improve our service to the people of Kent.
If you know anyone who wants to help as a volunteer, member of staff or police officer, please direct them to our website. New roles are coming up all the time.