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Police and Crime Commissioner supports ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign

Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, is supporting Neighbourhood Watch’s ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign.

The ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign is encouraging dog owners to keep their pets secure, in sight, searchable and calls for stiffer sentences for stealing dogs. Matthew Barber with his dog, Oscar

According to a survey conducted by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, in partnership with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners 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. 

Matthew Barber, Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “As a pet owner myself I know the concern that recent thefts in our communities have raised first hand which is why I support this campaign. 

“The Protect Your Pooch campaign gives simple but effective advice on how to keep your dog safe – I’ll definitely be following this advice with my dog Oscar.” 

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 and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of dog theft: 

Secure 

  • Fit a bell or gate alarm to any rear or side gates; the gates should be secured with British Standard locks, locking bolts or closed shackle padlocks.
  • Secure your garden boundary to prevent your dog from escaping or a thief from reaching in and taking your dog out.
  • Be particularly careful of sharing or publicly posting on social media details of where you live, the type of dog you have and where you walk. 

In sight

  • 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.
  • Leaving your dog alone outside a shop is another easy opportunity for a thief, even if you are only away for a minute.
  • Be careful of strangers asking you a lot of questions when you are walking your dog – they could be distracting you to make it easy for them to steal your dog. 

Searchable 

  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and the details are correct on any of the recognised pet registration databases. Your dog must be microchipped by the time it is eight weeks old.
  • Fit your dog with a collar; the tag on the collar should have a contact number and your surname, not the name of the dog.
  • Make sure you take pictures of your dog from various angles, especially if they have distinctive markings or features. A further photo of you with your dog can help to prove ownership. 

For further information on the campaign, please visit the Neighbourhood Watch website.