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Dog theft - security measures to suit

DOG THEFT Action is keen to offer a solution to the growing problem of dog theft by recommending a list of security measures to suit the needs of all dog owners. These can be found on the DTA website.

Anne Carter with EndalAfter the recent Symposium II - Dog Theft Future Action, delegate Anne Carter from the Labrador Lifeline Trust was approached to undertake the production of a set of guidelines aimed at owners with small establishments in the canine world. Anne Carter is a former police officer with experience as a Deputy Crime Prevention Officer whilst in the force and when she retired she worked as a surveyor for an alarm company!

These guidelines will complement those already available to dog owners in general and owners of assistance dogs. The new guidelines offer advice to:

• small animal sanctuaries
• small rehoming centres
• breeding or boarding kennels/catteries

Anne Carter of Labrador Lifeline Trust said, ‘Prevention of crime is a time consuming business but at least animals will be safe from the threat of dog theft with some simple but effective measures in place. I am happy to do what I can to work in partnership with DTA and also with Vets Get Scanning. Theft is theft and all cases should be investigated fairly and robustly by the police. Sadly we live in an environment where a dog is ‘just a dog’! Hopefully I can put some of my professional expertise to good use.’

DTA was contacted recently by Ruth Haycox who runs Plantation Dog Rescue near York. The kennels had been visited by dog thieves in autumn 2007. The target was Mei a Shar-pei who after a very poor start in life was ready to be rehomed but only into the perfect situation. The theft occurred after a woman showed an interest in Mei whilst enjoying a walk. Two women and a man later visited the kennels and while members of staff were busy they put Mei into their car and drove away.

Ruth Haycox continues ‘Although the suspects have been identified they have concealed Mei’s whereabouts and refused to return her. They sent money in return for us to stop police proceedings and let them keep her. We were not anxious for Mei to be rehomed until the right situation presented itself. We are still hopeful that Mei will be returned to us and pray for her safety. There is a reward for her safe return.’

Despite police assurances that everything was being done to find Mei – it is believed that she is now in the Essex area – in effect the case has now been closed. Stories like this one beg the questions

• Why has the investigation into this theft of property been stopped?
•What are the thieves intentions regarding this troubled dog?
• How do people like Ruth get their property back?

Dog Theft Action would be interested to hear from any kennels that have been targeted by dog thieves. It would be useful to know if the thieves were successful or how they were prevented from taking dogs. It would also be useful to know what steps owners of dogs taken in these circumstances took to recover their property and if they were successful. We would be grateful for any advice regarding preferred security measures. All comments will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Please contact

Margaret Nawrockyi, Secretary of DTA said ‘Anne Carter has produced an excellent document. Her experience as a police officer and with a national dog charity has enabled her to think of all the issues that need to be taken into account – in effective to think like a thief – and identify all weak areas whether in practice or the fabric of a building. Hopefully these guidelines will be a starting point for owners to assess the risk of theft to their premises and take the necessary action to prevent it from happening to them’

The document can be downloaded from the DTA website: