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Dog thefts: Protect your dog from thieves

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Advice on what to do if you believe your dog may have been stolen in Nottinghamshire.

The internet and social media can be a frenzy of scare stories of people stealing dogs and it is not uncommon for Nottinghamshire Police to receive calls from dog owners worried about stories of travelling criminals targeting dogs or leaving chalk marks on properties with dogs inside.

Thankfully, we do not have any evidence of dogs ever being stolen in this way in Nottinghamshire and the number of dog thefts reported to Nottinghamshire Police is actually very low.

Well-meaning people share these stories to make others aware but often only spread urban myths that cause dog owners unnecessary stress and anxiety.

What to do if you have lost your dog

If you have lost your dog or would like to report a stray dog in your area, please contact your local council’s dog wardens using the contact details provided on this page.

Report your dog as stolen

Before you call

If the worst should happen, please check with any friends or family members who may have access to your dog to ensure they haven’t taken the dog out.

Contact Nottinghamshire Police

If you believe your dog has been stolen rather than escaping or otherwise going missing, you should report the theft to Nottinghamshire Police on 101 providing as much information as possible about:

  • The description of your dog including name and microchip number
  • Dates and times for when you last saw your dog
  • The circumstances around your dog’s disappearance
  • Contact names and numbers of anyone you believe may have access to your dog
  • Descriptions of people or vehicles seen acting suspiciously in the area

Protect your dog from thieves

  • Never leave your pet tied-up unattended, such as outside shops for example
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are now required to do by law. Include your surname, telephone number, address and full post code and if there’s room, put ‘microchipped’ on the tag if your dog has a chip
  • Ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip or tattoo.A microchip is normally sufficient to identify your pet if it does become lost or stolen
  • Ask your vet to check your dog’s microchip every year to ensure your details are accurate and up-to-date
  • Clean tattoos with surgical spirit regularly
  • From 6 April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are eight weeks old. Puppies can usually be microchipped from four weeks of age depending on their size, so ensure this is done as soon as possible
  • Decide who owns the dog(s) within in your family.  Discuss who will own them after bereavement or the break-up of a relationship
  • Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place. Include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog. Make a note or take a picture of any unusual markings
  • Be cautious when choosing someone who will care for your dog(s) while you are at work, in hospital or on holiday. Be clear about when the dog will be handed over and who will collect it
  • Use a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer with documentation to this effect unless you know someone who is trustworthy that will care for your dog in your absence
  • Train your dog not to go out of your sight on walks. Use an extending lead if the dog does not comply. Vary your walk times and routes
  • Beware of strangers who show interest in your dog: don’t give details about your dog. Don’t allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog
  • Ensure your garden or yard is secure. Check it regularly for wear and tear or gaps. It should keep your dog in and trespassers out. Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden, don’t leave it unattended

How to choose your new family member and spot a bad breeder

  • How many adverts does the seller have? Puppy farms often have lots of different adverts at the same time and will have several different breeds
  • Does the puppy come with a passport? Often puppy farms import puppies from countries without the strict welfare regulations in the UK
  • Can you see the mum and the whole litter where they were born? Puppy farmers want to meet in a public places to avoid you seeing the conditions they are kept in
  • Have they offered you a choice of breeds? A good breeder normally specialise in one of two breeds and will be experts in these breeds, a puppy farmer will have several and won’t be able to give you much information
  • Are they keen to deal in cash? Puppy farms tend to only allow cash to avoid being traced and won’t accept refunds

If you have any concerns walk away and report the breeder to the RSPCA and the local authority, if you see any animals being abused please call 101 and report this us.

We know losing a pet to theft or any other reason is a traumatic event

The Blue Cross operate a national Pet Bereavement support service which can be contacted on 0800 0966606 or pbsmail@bluecross.org.uk


A printable leaflet and guide to dog theft in Nottinghamshire is available to download here: