Pet owners urged to remain vigilant after 30 dogs stolen across Derbyshire
Residents across Derbyshire have been asked by police to remain vigilant and keep their animals safe following the theft of 30 dogs across the county.
Derbyshire Police confirmed there has been ‘a significant increase’ in people buying dogs since the Covid-19 crisis started, which has led to a surge in dog thefts across the county.
A total of 30 canine companions were stolen across Derbyshire last year after the demand for dogs increased and the price of buying a puppy quadrupled in value with some breeds.
While puppies have been primarily targeted in the thefts, female dogs are also being stolen for breeding purposes to help criminals maximise their profits.
Offices have urged residents to make sure their dogs are always kept in a secure location and to keep a close eye on them when their pets are off their leads.
Dog owners should also recall their pet if a stranger approaches and place them back on the lead.
While law states that all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, police are concerned that many animals are not having this procedure, which significantly reduces the chances of dogs being returned if they are stolen and then found.
Residents are advised to put their phone number and address on dog collars worn by their pets to make it easier to be contacted if their pets are found. But they have been warned against adding pet names to ID tags as it can make them easier to steal.
Dogs should also not be left unattended, either outside a shop or in a vehicle and people are being urged to keep an eye out for a white chalk mark on their door or gate as this can be a signal used to tell criminals where dogs live.
Prospective dog owners are encouraged to get their pet from a rescue centre or reputable breeder and to request to visit the place where the litter is being cared for.
If residents suspect there could be an illegal puppy farm operating, they should call the RSPCA.
Anyone with information about dog thefts in the county should call Derbyshire Constabulary on 101.