Warning to gundog owners as spaniels and Labradors among most stolen breeds

Police have offered advice to owners following news that gundogs represent almost half of missing dogs on DogLost.

Dog owners have been urged to consider the security of their pets during Gundog Theft Awareness Week (31 October – 7 November).

The guidance follows news that almost half of dogs reported missing to DogLost are gundogs, with cocker and springer spaniels and labradors the most commonly targeted within the group.

Dorset Police Rural Crime Team has said there are simple measures that can be taken to deter thieves.

‘It is important to think like a criminal,’ said a spokesman for the team. ‘Look at your property as if you are trying to steal your dogs. How would you do it and how could you be stopped? If you find a flaw make sure it’s rectified ASAP.’

The force said that if your dog is stolen you should act quickly and call 101 as well as contact your local council dog warden and the RSPCA to alert them should the dog be handed in.

Owners are also advised to report the theft to Petlog, the UK’s largest mircochip database. DogLost is a national community of owners and volunteers, who help reunite lost dogs with their owners, so owners may benefit from informing this group as well.

‘The use of social media is great to spread the word if your dog is stolen, making them “too hot to handle”, but be aware of hoaxers claiming to know where your dog is if you provide money,’ added the police spokesman. ‘Always speak to the police for them to follow up potential leads.

Dorset Police Rural Crime Team offered advice for owners looking to protect their dog from theft:

  • Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle and be aware of vehicles that may be following you. Consider the use of tinted windows or secured transit crates which can be locked.
  • Vary your walking spots and consider using a tracking device during exercise.
  • Be mindful of where you talk about your dogs the information you post on social media. Consider revising your privacy setting so that unwanted people do not have access to your profile.
  • Keep your canine companion’s documents safe and out of sight and ensure your details are up to date on your their microchip.
  • If your dog lives indoors, make sure windows and doors are locked and consider installing an alarm system in the house. Make sure that any ladders or tools are kept out of sight and secured, as these could be used to gain entry.
  • If your dog is kept in a kennel then consider installing security lighting — ideally placed somewhere it cannot be tampered with — alarmed gates, padlocks or infrared sensors. Remote access CCTV allows can provide peace of mind by allowing you to check on your dogs from your mobile phone.
  • If you’re looking to build a new kennel, try to locate it as close to your house as possible and disguise it as much as possible.