Dog Theft Action was recently invited to a joint meeting with the Kennel Club, Pet Log and Dogs Trust. The meeting was held at Clarges St and was attended by Helen Fox, Phil Buckley of the KC, Celia Walsom of Pet Log, Clarissa Baldwin and Chris Laurence of Dogs Trust and Jayne Hayes and Margaret Nawrockyi representing DTA. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways that these two organisations can assist in the on-going struggle against dog theft in the UK.
The meeting began with an acknowledgement from Jayne Hayes that there is no simple solution to this problem for dog owners up and down the country.
DTA co-ordinator Margaret Nawrockyi said:
"We have always maintained that DTA wishes to act as a catalyst, bringing together all organisations with an interest in dogs, to co-operate with each other and co-ordinate their efforts, skills, experience and resources to bring about a change in the attitudes of central and local government and the police. Only then will we be able to witness a change in the current situation."
The first topic under discussion was microchipping. The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and DTA are in favour of microchipping dogs but it was felt that improvements to the service could be made. DTA would very much like to see all vets routinely scanning all dogs regularly and suggested that this could be carried out by a veterinary nurse when new clients are presented at surgeries for treatment. DTA also wishes to encourage owners to be vigilant about their dogs’ chips and to ask their vet to scan prior to annual boosters so that malfunctioning and migrating chips can be identified and advice sought from an appropriate source.
The discussion then turned to police attitudes to dog theft. The problems faced by organisations like Doglost UK, who are there to help the victims of dog theft, are compounded by the lack of response to the crime itself. The Home Office doesn’t require the figures so the police don’t collate them. Frequently victims are given an incident number instead of a crime number and even when perpetrators of dog theft are apprehended they are not charged with theft of a dog. DTA co-ordinator and founder of Doglost UK, Jayne Hayes said,
"We have helped to reunite almost 1000 dogs with their owners and there are another 1000 missing dogs on our database and I know of only one conviction for dog theft so far and that thief was charged with extortion."
It was recognised by all present that the public needs to be more aware of the law where it applies to found dogs. It is against the law to keep a dog without informing the appropriate authority. All stray dogs should be reported to the local authority dog warden so that if the owners are looking for them they can be reunited with their pet as soon as possible. Details of found dogs can also be recorded on www.doglost.co.uk
After the meeting Jayne Hayes of DTA and Doglost UK said;
"Doglost UK felt the meeting was very beneficial to all who attended and all the represented organisations were in full agreement about the rising crime of dog theft and the need to work together to make the police and government aware of dog owners’ concerns. This is another big step forward for DTA and its aim to unite everyone in the canine world so that they speak with one loud voice to the government of this country! Together we can make a difference!"
Helen Fox of the Kennel Club suggested that the KC could contact the Metropolitan Police and ACPO and Clarissa Baldwin of Dogs Trust suggested that she would contact DEFRA with a view to opening a dialogue to see if progress could be made on this issue.
Kennel Club press officer Phil Buckley later said;
"The Kennel Club was very pleased to meet with Dog Theft Action and Dogs Trust at the Kennel Club offices and we will be working with them with regard to this very important issue in the future, as it certainly needs addressing."
Clarissa Baldwin OBE of Dogs Trust said;
"Representatives of Dogs Trust met with the Dog Theft Action group at the Kennel Club last week and we were impressed by their efforts. We fully support measures to improve the likelihood of stolen dogs being reunited with their owners."
DTA very much appreciates the commitment and encouragement shown by both the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust on the subject of dog theft and thank them for their hospitality, support and encouragement. Hopefully other organisations will follow the example set by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust and declare their willingness to unite with the other organisations, manufacturers, business proprietors, breeders, rescue organisations and individuals who would like to see an end to this despicable crime.
Margaret Nawrockyi – DTA co-ordinator 01652 688089
Jayne Hayes – DTA co-ordinator 01909 733366