The DTA team plan their media strategy for the General Election.
L to R: Jayne Haynes, Laura Lucas, Margaret Nawrockyi
DOG THEFT Action, the pressure group formed out of DogLostUK to compel the authorities to take dog theft seriously, has stepped its campaign up to the next level with the announcement earlier this week of the forthcoming General Election, by writing to every MP in the country on the subject.
The DTA does not favour any one political party, but instead has spelled it out to MPs from all parties that dog theft is a matter of great concern to a sizeable chuck of the electorate and that the next Government – of whatever political hue – must give the matter the serious attention it deserves.
DTA Co-ordinator Margaret Nawrockyi told OUR DOGS: "The campaign is now firmly in the public eye. Since Crufts, there has been attention from all aspects of the media, with articles about dog theft included in The Daily Mail, on GMTV and BBC Radio almost nationwide.
"As you know, on BBC2's ‘The Daily Politics’ featured Early Day Motion 775 - Dog theft and the work of Dog Theft Action - tabled by Andrew Rosindell MP Romford. Despite beginning with some unnecessary and feeble puns about 'ruff justice' and 'shaggy dog stories' all of which have been done to death, the programme grasped the nettle by informing the viewing public that there are 15 million dog owners in the UK - a sizeable number of voters, all with the right to vote at the forthcoming General Election.
"Jokes aside, the impact that dog theft has on society was explored and pronounced unacceptable by Labour's Tony Banks MP who is supporting the EDM. Jayne Hayes representing DTA on the programme explained that there is no simple solution to this problem when Lord Steele insisted that compulsory registration of all dogs is the way forward. Ms Hayes explained that it is vital for all agencies to co-operate to find an effective solution so that every aspect of the dog world participates."
The EDM now has 70 signatures of MPs from all parties. The list of signatories can be viewed via a link on the DTA’s website www.dogtheftaction.co.uk and DTA is urging everyone to write to their MP and ask for their support in this devastating aspect of law and order, at the approach of the General Election.
Nawrockyi continues: "Currently the message to would be dog thieves is ‘it’s OK to steal a dog and sell it on or ask for an extortionate ransom from its owners – no one will challenge you and even if you’re found in possession of the dog you won’t be charged with dog theft because we don’t recognise it as a serious crime!’ DTA has vowed to change attitudes like this.
DTA is still awaiting contact from Ben Bradshaw and now also Alun Michael of DEFRA. Neither has responded to questions asked by DTA on the sensitive issue of dog theft in the UK or clarified the proposals set out by the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Bill, which will have a marked impact on aspects of the group’s work, particularly as there have been reports of some police forces already implementing certain proposals of the Bill, by ‘farming out’ stray and stolen dog responsibility to private agencies, as reported previously in OUR DOGS.
At the time of going to press the lack of response from either department is being investigated by the Impartial Adjudicator at DEFRA. Nawrockyi concludes: "Should the departments or the ministers concerned offer any information in the near future Our Dogs readers will be the first to hear it.
"But this couldn’t-care-less attitude has got to change. There are six million dogs in the UK, which means six million voters, probably more, representing a significant proportion of the electorate. Crime of any kind is a serious concern to the electorate, and dog crime is simply not being tackled. We intend to see that it is."
*DTA may be contacted at:
www.dogtheftaction.co.uk and www.doglost.co.uk
Margaret Nawrockyi - DTA press co-ordinator 01652 688089 or
Jayne Hayes – DTA media co-ordinator 01909 733366