With dognapping on the increase, here are a few tips to keep your precious companion as safe as possible
Dognapping of fashionable breeds is big business where entire dogs and bitches are concerned. Unscrupulous dog breeders will go to any length for maximum profit with minimum outlay and many stolen dogs end up being used for breeding. Kent, in particular, has the highest rate of reported dognapping crimes in the country. Spaying your dog will minimize this risk. Please follow this link for further information on the importance of spaying and neutering.
With entire male dogs, it is very easy to spot whether they have or have not been neutered, making them a higher risk. Of course this will not completely alleviate the risk as some fashionable breeds are stolen to be sold on, but it will help.
During your walks, stay alert and vigilant. Always try to keep your dog within a safe distance where you can see them. Check for dognapping hot spots in your local area and help make others aware. If you are approached by someone or a group of people who are acting or asking suspicious questions, be prepared. For example: A friend of mine was walking her Cavalier/Shiht-zu cross when she was approached by 3 youths who showed a special interest in her female dog and asked the following questions: What breed? (quite normal), Has she been done? (not so normal). My friend became suspicious at the second question and told them that her dog had indeed been done (which is true) and added that her dog was also diabetic and needed daily injections (not true, but she became concerned). The youths walked away. Had she answered differently, things may not have ended so well.
Should your dog accidently wander off from you during a walk or from their garden/enclosure, or indeed are stolen, they can be traced far easier if they have been microchipped. This goes for your companion cats and bunnies too. Please follow this link for further information.
It is extremely important and REQUIRED BY UK LAW to have a tag with your contact details attached to your companion's collar, should your dog get lost. However, DO NOT add your companion's name, especially if your dog is friendly and will go to anyone. Dogs recognise their names and this will aid any potential thief to lure your companion away. This also goes with having your dog's photos and your details on social networking sites. DO NOT give all your personal contact details along with photos of your pets and their names. We all love to show off our beloved companions, but for safety reasons, keep the information shared to a minimum.
Animal Companions always advocates rescuing dogs from shelters as apposed to buying from breeders – every time a dog is bought from a breeder, a shelter dog is killed. Help give a homeless dog the happy forever home he/she deserves. Taking on a dog can be expensive and is a long term commitment, please do not do this without considerable thought.