New Forest Dog On The Forest Off The Lead

Warning for owners to fight canine crime

NFDOG is warning dog owners to prevent them becoming victims of crime. Disappointing figures issued by the police show that dog theft has been increasing over the past 10 years but only 14% of the thefts have ever been recovered.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are the most stolen dogs nationally, followed by Chihuahuas. Third are French bulldogs. While the New Forest isn’t a national hot spot for thefts, recent research by ADT Security shows that the equivalent of about 15 dogs per 100,000 are stolen locally each year. Many are taken from homes. 

A new and worrying development is criminals tracking lost dogs, and contacting the owners with a claim they’ve found the pet and looking for a reward.

“If your dog is lost it’s really important to keep your wits. Don’t give out too much information. Equally, be careful when someone gets in touch and says they’ve found your pet, especially if they ask about a reward,” says Heather Gould, Chair of the New Forest Dog Owners Group.

“Our group has taken great care with the information we give out if someone uses our lost dog app, and for example we don’t reveal the dog’s name. We hope that lost dogs are quickly reunited, but we’re increasingly aware that there are heartless people who’d only seek to exploit the situation.”

Simple steps can help to protect both owners and pets.

  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and the details are correct on any of the recognised pet registration databases.
  • Fit your dog with a collar with a contact number and your surname, but NOT the dog’s name.
  • Make sure you take pictures of your dog from various angles, especially if they have distinctive markings or features.
  • Fit a bell or gate alarm to any garden gates secured with strong locks.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a car as it is not just dangerous for their health but allows them to be easily targeted by thieves.
  • Thieves prey on social media. Be careful with details of where you live, the type of dog you have and where you walk.
  • If you need to use a dog-walking service or kennels, make sure you check references thoroughly.

The New Forest Dog Owners Group has a free app where dog’s details and a picture can be registered on a phone for immediate reference if a dog is lost.