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Fears raised over increase in dog thefts in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 16:58 05 August 2014 | UPDATED: 17:05 05 August 2014

Fears have been raised that more gun dogs are being targetted by thieves.

Fears have been raised that more gun dogs are being targetted by thieves.

Fears have been raised that more thieves are targeting man’s best friend with warnings that the number of dog thefts across East Anglia are set to increase.

The most stolen dog breed nationally in 2013

Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 224

Border Collie - 80

Cocker Spaniel - 54

Jack Russell - 46

Chihuahua - 43

Norfolk had the second highest number of stolen reported dogs in the East of England last year, according to new figures.

And concern has been raised by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) that more gundogs are being stolen, with former metal thieves targeting dogs after the government cracked down on unlicensed scrap metal dealers.

In 2013, 32 dogs were stolen in Norfolk, 27 in Cambridgeshire, and 12 in Suffolk, according to figures from the Shooting Times.

Officials from the CLA added that DogLost.co.uk, which helps reunite owners with lost animals, has noted a dramatic increase in the thefts of gundogs nationally since the laws surrounding metal theft were tightened in December 2012.

Top five dog theft hotspots in 2013

London Metropolitan - 165

Kent -128

West Yorkshire - 123

Lancashire - 77

Thames Valley - 64

Half of all stolen dogs in 2013 were gundogs according to the website, which reported that 160 labradors, 97 cocker spaniels, and 80 springer spaniels were registered as missing in the first quarter of 2014.

In the whole of 2013, there were only 30 labradors reported stolen in England and Wales and 54 cocker spaniels and 16 springer spaniels were taken.

A total of 217 dogs were reported stolen in the Eastern region during 2013 and CLA fears that the figure is set to rise.

Nicola Currie, CLA eastern regional director, said: “The temptation on a hot day is to let your dog go unattended into your garden, or out on your land, to find some cool shade. It’s also easy to let it run free and go out of sight while you are on walks.

“Unfortunately, this offers thieves a golden opportunity to take your animal.”

“Many dogs are targeted by thieves because they can make money selling them on, often for breeding or for fighting. By leaving a valuable and much-loved animal in your garden in sight of a road or a public right of way gives thieves a chance to monitor your movements and security arrangements with a view to possibly stealing it to order.”

“Gundog owners should always be aware of where their animal is while they are on a shoot and make sure it is never out of the sight of guns, beaters or pickers-up.”

Dog owners are being urged to cut the risk of theft by ensuring their animal is microchipped and wears a collar and ID tag. All dogs will need to be microchipped under government rules from April 2016.

The RSPCA is also warning people to be vigilant as summer months, as animals are more likely to be left unattended outside.

If the worst does happen, the RSPCA suggests:

• Check your home and local area thoroughly.

• If the animal is definitely missing, register them with a company such as Petslocated, Dogslost or the National Pets Register.

• If you suspect your animal may have been stolen, please contact the police.

• Call your microchip company so they can flag your pet as missing.

• Call local RSPCA and other animals welfare organisations.

• Contact your local vets.

• Talk to neighbours, postman, milkman etc, as they may have seen the animal or observed something suspicious at the time they went missing.

• Put flyers on notice boards and through letter boxes- the RSPCA website includes free printable posters.

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