Just when many of us need our canine companions the most, dog-napping has become prevalent throughout the country.
This is organised crime on a huge scale – dogs and puppies are easy to steal and worth a great deal of money – for re-sale, breeding or cruel sports.
Young and pedigree dogs are obviously most at risk, but absolutely no dog is immune.
At present, the theft of a dog, beloved though it may be, is treated in law the same as the theft of any other ‘object’. Dog-nappers are ruthless and heartless monsters, and they know that even if they are caught they are likely to get away with a relatively small fine. They are happy to take this chance and go about the streets brazenly, taking dogs from gardens and outside shops. They have even been known to ‘snatch’ dogs that are out for a run with their owners. They bundle them swiftly into a van and are gone before you can blink.
Last October the Government debated this issue after two petitions were signed by almost 300,000 people urging them to make pet theft a specific offence – in order to empower judges to hand out much stiffer penalties and prison sentences. The government say that they are ‘keen to act’ but nothing yet has changed.
Dogs in Eastington are at risk – the police are aware of cases in our area and are warning us to be vigilant. There are reports of gateposts being marked with a black zip tie or similar where ‘likely’ dogs live. Please make sure that your faithful friend is safe – secure indoors or under your watchful eye at all times, even in the garden. Dog-walk with a friend if possible and please report ANY suspicious activity or vehicles to the police immediately – call 101 or report online: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk.