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DNA tests used to identify ‘stolen’ pups


TWO BLACK Labrador puppies which were handed in to a vet’s surgery in norfolk have been identified by conducting DNA tests.

Mr Andrew Grimley of Breckland Council and dog warden Steve O’Brian were called to pick up the pups from a vet in Watton, after he became suspicious that the two pups taken to the surgery might be stolen. The two pups, who are believed to be about nine weeks of age, are being looked after by Steve O’Brian the Breckland Council Dog Warden.

A woman handed in the two pups to the vets on Saturday 23rd of August, saying she could not cope with them. The woman said she had brought them from Eye to the Watton clinic. The two pups were collected by Steve and were being held as strays until their identity was established. Details of the pups and the circumstances in which they were handed in to the vets were been passed to Norfolk and Suffolk police as well as Dog Theft Action.

A dog breeder who had five puppies from a litter stolen earlier in the month was contacted. When asked if there was anything distinctive about the two black pups the breeder was able to describe an identifying mark on the pups’ coats. Further contact with the breeder resulted in the pups and parent dogs of the litter being tested by DNA to establish parentage and discover if the two pups were indeed from the stolen litter. Steve O’Brian told Our Dogs that it ‘looked more and more likely that these two pups were from the litter which had the five puppies stolen.’

However, DNA results were disappointing when they arrived with Breckland Council this week, as they finally resolved the fate of the two puppies. The two puppies turned out not to be from the litter that was stolen, so the puppies will in due course be re-homed.

Steve O’Brien commented that the result was disappointing but it does show that if the councils and dog wardens work together, with the police and organizations like Dog Theft Action and Dogs Lost, that a lot of dog theft crimes could be stopped and straying dogs returned to owners. When asked if Dog Watch organizations, (reported in Our Dogs last week), such as that operating in the Thames Valley were useful for dog owners to try to find lost or stolen dogs Mr O’Brien said any method of distributing information is useful, and the more local dog wardens know when such organizations are set up, the more they can help find lost dogs and reunite them with their owners.