Campaign launched to keep your pets safe from dognappers in the Ribble Valley

Protect your pooch from dognappers – that’s the message in a new Ribble Valley community safety campaign.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 12:30 pm

Ribble Valley Dog Watch aims to protect dog-owners from thieves looking to capitalise on increased prices and demand for pedigree pets.

There was a 13 per cent increase in dog thefts in Lancashire last year, but social media reports and differences in the way dog thefts are recorded suggests the problem might be worse.

Ribble Valley Borough Council, which coordinates the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, has launched a new section on its website featuring advice and information on how to keep the canine culprits at bay.

Robert Thompson, chairman of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, which has launched Ribble Valley Dog Watch aimed at keeping pet theft at bay.

And the council's dog wardens will be out and about on popular dog-walking routes over the coming weeks handing out leaflets and warning people about the problem.

Robert Thompson, chairman of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, said: “Demand for puppies has risen sharply and there are lengthy waiting lists and high prices for some breeds.

“Multiple puppy thefts have been reported in national media over the last year and this is expected to rise, so the Government is proposing to make pet-theft a specific crime category in recognition of the significant distress it causes to dogs and owners.

“We have launched this campaign to stay a step ahead of the problem and help Ribble Valley dog-owners keep their precious pets safe.”

How to keep your dog safe:

● Do not leave your dog unattended at any time

● Do not tie your dog up outside a shop

● Do not leave your dog in an unsecured garden (most dogs are stolen from gardens)

● Be aware of strangers who show an interest in your dog – do not let them take photographs, or give them information, such as your pet’s name or address

● Watch out for people in vehicles (especially vans) parked where you wouldn’t expect them

● Your dog should wear a collar and tag in public

● Make sure your dog is microchipped and keep the details up to date

● Change your walking routes regularly

● Do not let your dog wander off – keep it close at all times and better still keep it on a lead

● Consider carrying a personal attack alarm or loud whistle in the event someone tries to steal your dog

If your pet goes missing:

● Check your home and local area thoroughly

● Call 999 providing as many descriptive details as you can

● Contact your local council, as dog wardens sometimes find stray dogs

● Phone the microchip database that your pet is registered with and report them as missing, so that if anyone tries to re-register the chip number you will be informed

● Advertise the loss of your dog at vets, animal rescue centres and on community noticeboards

● Register your pet on missing pet websites such as petslocated.com, dogslost.co.uk or nationalpetregister.org