Derbyshire residents urged to complete dog theft survey
People living in Derbyshire are being urged to take part in a survey which aims to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement and the prosecution of offenders.
It comes in the wake of a rise in thefts during the national lockdown, with a significant number of dogs having been taken from their homes across Derbyshire this year including seven-year-old pooch Lucky who disappeared from her owner Phil’s garden in Chesterfield on January 12.
The charity DogLost estimate that dog thefts have increased by 250 per cent since March 2020 – spurred by a surge in demand for pets while people stay at home, causing puppy prices to rocket and making them a valuable commodity to criminals.
Derbyshire’s Neighbourhood Watch Network said it is supporting the national survey which has been launched by Sussex's Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, in partnership with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC).
Mrs Bourne said: "Pet theft, dog theft in particular, is a growing concern for the public and their fear has been perpetuated over the last couple of weeks with shocking reports in the media of more dogs being snatched by criminals.
"I am incredibly eager to get more detail around this issue and understand residents’ views and if they feel more could be done to respond to their concerns or for more preventative measures to be put in place to better protect their pets.”
The survey includes a question seeking views on whether dogs should be treated in law merely as property when they are stolen and will help inform the discussions that PCCs will have on this issue nationally.
It will also help police forces to better understand the public’s views on this crime and how they might improve their response to these concerns.
Derbyshire residents are now being urged to take part in the first national consultation on this very topical issue, with the Home Secretary already reviewing pet thefts and future enforcement with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators.
The Neighbourhood Watch Network said: “Please, if you can, and haven't already, take a couple of minutes to complete the survey as your support and views are really valuable to us.”
The survey closes at 5pm on Friday, March 12.
Visit surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dogtheft to take part.