Sussex PCC supports Protect Your Pooch Campaign

24/05/2021

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is showing her support for Neighbourhood Watch’s Protect Your Pooch Campaign (17th – 30th May).

The national campaign has been launched in response to a survey conducted by Mrs Bourne in March this year, revealing that 27,440 people (22% of the 124,729 people who responded) have had a dog stolen or knew someone who had over the last year.

79% of people to whom the question was applicable said they had grown more fearful of taking their dog for a walk during the day and an even greater number, 83%, have grown more fearful of taking their dog for a walk at night.

To help keep your dog safe, Neighbourhood Watch have pulled together some top tips on how to keep your dog SECURE, IN SIGHT AND SEARCHABLE - reducing your chances of becoming a victim of pet theft.

PCC Katy Bourne, who now sits on the Government’s newly launched Pet Theft Taskforce, wants residents across Sussex to heed this advice. She says: “I’m pleased that my national survey has sparked so many conversations and movements over the last couple of months to better protect our pets.

“The number of survey responses showed the extent to which the public are concerned about pet theft and gave an idea of how many people have been affected by having a pet stolen.

“I’m pleased that the Government are taking this matter seriously with the launch of the Pet Theft Taskforce to work with police, law enforcement, and experts to understand and better investigate this crime.

“There are also steps that people can take themselves to better protect their pets, Neighbourhood Watch are sharing tips on how to keep them secure, in sight and searchable. They are also pinpointing the steps to take if you think your dog may have been stolen and how to spot a scam.

“This is helpful advice, that I encourage you to take.”

Below are some of the simple things that pet owners can do to protect their pets from thieves:

  • Keep an ID tag on your dog at all times (your surname, mobile number and address only, do not include your pet’s name).
  • Secure gates using bolts at the top and bottom, along with a heavy-duty padlock and gate alarm.
  • Never leave your pet in the garden unattended.
  • Purchase a driveway alarm so you are alerted to any intruders, these can also be used in rear gardens and yards.
  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and their details are kept up to date so that they can be returned if they are stolen and subsequently found.
  • Avoid leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or left alone in a car, even for a few minutes.
  • Take lots of photographs of your dog to prove ownership if it’s stolen; pay particular attention to any distinguishing markings on your dog.

Owners who have fallen victim to pet thieves should also be wary of scammers who see that someone has a missing dog and contacts the owners claiming to have the dog and will return it for a cash reward. If anyone demands money for the safe return of your pet contact the police.

For more information on how to keep your pet safe visit: www.ourwatch.org.uk/protectyourpooch.

Neighbourhood Watch are also hosting a free dog theft webinar on 27th May, 5pm with guest speakers from the Met Police, Crime Stoppers and PCC Katy Bourne. Those wishing to attend the free webinar can book a place online: www.ourwatch.org.uk/webinars.