Dog theft is on the rise in Hertfordshire



Last year, more dogs were reported stolen in Hertfordshire.

Animal welfare organizations have welcomed a government move to tackle the “despicable” crime. A new animal theft task force is set to investigate a surge in kidnappings across the UK.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that the Hertfordshire Constabulary recorded 44 dog thefts in the year ended March 31.

The photo was used for illustration purposes

The photo was used for illustration purposes

That was more than 24 in the previous year and 23 in 2018-19.

Of the thefts reported in the past 12 months, the largest number – nine – occurred in March.

The numbers refer to the number of dog thefts reported to the police, but not to the number of animals stolen.

Inspector Nicki Dean of the Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit said: “Although dog thefts in Hertfordshire have remained relatively minor this year, we recognize that there are growing concerns about dog theft from homes and kennels across the country .

“There was a slight increase in reports of dog thefts during the pandemic, but we have been watching these reports closely and it turns out that many are related to property disputes or dogs that have escaped or been lost rather than confirmed thefts.

“While actual thefts have remained low, we encourage dog owners to take our advice and join Hertfordshire’s Neighborhood Watch: for the latest crime prevention alerts and tips.

“There are simple steps you can take to keep your pet safe, such as never leaving your dog unattended when you are out and about creating areas in your home that your dog can safely access.”

Nationwide, at least 1,791 crimes were recorded by the 31 armed forces in England and Wales in the period 2020-21, which provided comparable figures. This corresponds to an increase of 11 percent from 1,612 in the period 2019-20.

The national figure excludes data from the South Yorkshire Police for March this year.

Sales platforms have seen a “significant surge” in puppy and kitten prices over the past year as more people look to buy or adopt during the pandemic, the government said – with reports suggesting the surge in demand is a national surge that may have triggered pet theft.

Although many dog ​​owners would consider their pet to be another family member, the animals are currently considered legal property.

This means that there is no standardized way for the police force to track or search for the number of dog thefts, so the true extent of the problem remains largely unknown.

However, a petition calling on the government to make dog theft a specific criminal offense had gathered 316,500 signatures by the Thursday, May 20 deadline, meaning it is well over the threshold for debate in parliament.

Around 35,800 people in the east of England contributed their signature to the cause.

The petition calls for dog theft with a minimum sentence of eight years and a fine of at least £ 5,000.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a tougher conviction of the crime that could see dog thieves prosecuted under animal welfare laws instead of the Theft Act of 1968, The Times reported.

Earlier this month, the government set up a new Animal Theft Task Force to investigate the rise in thefts nationally since lockdown restrictions began.

A new law is also introduced to recognize animals as living beings capable of experiencing pleasure, pain and fear.

The Alliance of Stolen and Missing Pets, which has long been campaigning for a reform of the laws against animal theft, is pleased that the issue is being “taken seriously”.

Dog’s Trust welcomed the announcement, adding that it would also work with the task force to tackle the “despicable” crime.

“We would like to see tougher penalties to deter pet thieves, treat pet theft as a specific crime that reflects the emotional trauma it causes, and more accurate recording of incidents by the police so we can determine the extent of the problem said the charity.

Hertfordshire Police have issued this advice to keep your dog safe:

> Make sure your dog is microchipped and registered with up-to-date information and has a collar and dog tag (use your last name in place of the dog’s name and your phone contact details).

> Spaying and neutering your pet may ensure that it is not selected for breeding purposes. Add the label “I am neutered” to the collar.

> Take lots of clear photos of your pet, especially any prominent markings.

> When you go for a walk with your pet, try different routes and keep an eye on your pet at all times.

> Never leave a dog unattended in the garden, in the car or outside of shops.

> Do not provide details about your pets, your location or your preferred walking areas on social media and make sure that your security settings are set for friends only.

> When you are out and about, you always know where your dog is. Think about anyone trying to take your attention away from your dog, or to get your dog’s attention away from you.



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