Newark: Nottinghamshire Police offers dog owners security advice and reassurance on National Dog Day
The UK’s first dedicated dog-theft busting police officer has offered some crucial advice on how to keep your pet safe, and challenged some well-established myths.
Speaking on National Dog Day, Chief Inspector Amy Styles-Jones, of Nottinghamshire Police, revealed some key findings from her first six months in the role.
After reviewing all available data on the issue, she is seeking to highlight some very clear differences between social media myth and reported crimes.
Chief Inspector Styles-Jones said: “This is a very emotive issue and one that has had a lot of national attention over the last 18 months. As a dog-owner myself I can well understand people’s concerns and I absolutely agree that this is an issue the police should take seriously.
"However, it’s also important that we focus on doing the right things and preventing dog thefts where we can.
"What we have seen in Nottinghamshire is that people are really scared — mainly due to social media. They think their properties are going to be marked prior to a dog being taken or that they are going to be violently attacked while they are out walking the dog. Fortunately, the evidence we have seen simply doesn’t support those myths.
“From what he have found, incidents where violence is either used or offered to steal dogs are incredibly rare. In reality over one third of all dogs stolen in Nottinghamshire are taken from people’s gardens.
"It is also true that your dogs are actually at risk of being taken or not returned by people you know — your friends, family, partners and ex partners.
“We know that because 44% of the thefts we’ve looked into were committed by people known to the dog owners.
“However when looking at all offences since 2018 stolen dogs were returned in almost half of cases.”
After reviewing more than 24 months of data, police now have a much greater understanding of the issue and are offering the following key pieces of advice. Dog owners are being urged to:
- Ensure their garden areas are safe and secure
- Not leave dogs unattended in their garden, car, or outside a shop
- Stay alert when walking and be wary of walking dogs off the lead unless they have good recall
- Keep all documentation relating to their dogs, and take full body photos of their pets that include any unusual markings
- Ensure that dogs are microchipped and that all contact details are up-to-date.
Chief Inspector Styles-Jones added: “At the moment we see an average of around four dogs being stolen across the county each month and typically, two of them will be returned to the owner but the two that aren’t are still two too many.
“So, if you are a dog owner like me, please take some time to think about your home security and your day-to-day routine with your dog and think carefully whether there is anything you can do to make your pet safer. Simple things like a better lock on your gate or improved fencing really could make all the difference.”
Further information for people on keeping dogs safe can be found here.