THE LOBBY group Dog Theft Action, founded to raise awareness of the growing tide of dog theft in the UK continues to grow in size and influence – and is gaining the attention of politicians from all parties, particularly in the General Election Campaign.
OUR DOGS has reported regularly on DTA’s progress since we first covered the group’s foundation in January of this year and continue to support the group’s important work in getting the trauma that dog theft causes to owners, as well as dog theft itself taken seriously by the police and the authorities.
Here, DTA Co-ordinator Margaret Nawrockyi tells OUR DOGS readers about the DTA’s latest developments and initiatives:
"Since our first major event at Crufts several changes have taken place within the structure of DTA. We are delighted to announce that some new members have joined our advisory panel of professionals. We welcome that famous duo in the canine world Allen Parton; ambassador and trustee for Canine Partners and his endearing assistance partner, Labrador Endal, winner of the PDSA’s Gold Medal. Allen and Endal are joined by Neil Ewart, breed manager for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Kennel Club member, author and journalist and Ryan O’Meara; editor of K9 Magazine. DTA also has some new co-ordinators, one of which is Dee Ford who has created our new forum which directs our campaign to localities all over the country, targeting areas where assistance is needed”
Dee explains; "We have responded to requests to bring DTA’s campaign to more localised areas throughout the country. Visitors to www.dogtheftaction.co.uk can now choose to visit our brand new forum and interact with others, targeting areas where assistance is urgently required. We can offer geographical details, to those in the North, East, South and West, plus general ‘urgent pleas’ to motivate people to respond to what is needed immediately to find a particular dog or to put out alerts concerning areas where thieves are known to be operating.
"The forum can also offer details of DTA’s initiatives... the posters, the petition, the fliers, information about dog shows and local events etc - volunteers can publicise all of these. The forum will hopefully become a "meeting place" - where people who have lost or found dogs know they can get advice - they don't have to call a phone number to ask what to do, they can stay relatively anonymous and yet still do a wondrous amount for DTA and DOGLOST UK. We also offer a discreet section for the police, dog wardens and vets, where important and sensitive issues can be aired.
"By doing this, I believe we can start to paint a picture of where dog theft "hotspots" are, and where people should go to poster etc. Slowly we'll start to show the dog world, that we know where thieves are operating regularly. As certain areas cool off and thefts move elsewhere, we can provide evidence that can't be ignored."
Dee is also joined by Jennie Dhanjal, our researcher who records information offered to us by dog lovers all over the country and Rachel Hughes who has undertaken to co-ordinate the website. These three ladies will be working closely together as we broaden our horizons in response to our supporters. Incidentally our newest recruits have not suffered personally from dog theft but like many dog lovers, they feel passionately about the impact that this despicable crime has on dogs and owners alike.
It is also appropriate to mention here we have lost one of our founder members, Denise Boardman who sometimes uses her middle name – Nicola, to a very worthy cause – dog welfare and rescue. We wish her every success in her future endeavours.
The media continues to highlight the work of both DTA and Doglost UK after two high-profile thefts this month. Both organisations were the subject of items on Meridian TV, Look East, BBC Cambridge and SAGA Digital Radio as well as articles in The Times and The Bromley Times.
DTA media co-ordinator and founder of DOGLOST UK, Jayne Hayes said;
"We are absolutely delighted with the recent response from fellow dog owners and the media. The police have been embarrassed into action due to intense pressure from TV, Radio and the press, together with the dog owning public, who are demanding justice for stolen dogs and their distraught owners. Our aim is to give every case, high profile status. We would like to thank the media and the public because at last the police are now acting on information received. Recent successes prove, as we have always maintained, that we can change attitudes to dog theft if we work together."
DTA very much hopes that dog lovers everywhere will ensure that the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in their area are acquainted with the facts surrounding dog theft. According to the Office of National Statistics there are 44,180,243 eligible voters in the UK - and 10% of them are dog owners! A letter is available on the DTA website for visitors to download and forward to their PPCs.
Don’t forget: THERE’S A VOTER AT THE END OF EVERY LEAD!
www.dogtheftaction.co.uk and www.doglost.co.uk
Contacts: Margaret Nawrockyi – DTA press co-ordinator 01652 688089
Jayne Hayes – DTA media co-ordinator and DOGLOST UK 01909 733366
Dee Ford – DTA forum co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org