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Pet Theft Awareness
7th March 2017

Here at TRAKZ we are focusing on PET THEFT.

As a company we are dedicated to tracking lost dogs and lost cats, and returning them to their owners. Sadly our unique pet tracker device cannot stop pet theft from happening completely. However we want to stand shoulder to shoulder with those owners who are separated from their beloved animals due to pet theft.

Figures released in April 2016 report a dramatic rise in organized pet theft. A BBC investigation reported that more than 5,000 dogs have been reported stolen to police forces in England and Wales between 2013 -2015. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show a 22.3% rise of reported dog theft in this period (1). They further identify specific breeds that are more likely to be targeted by organised dog thieves: ‘Thieves target Staffordshire bull terriers and tiny toy-designer breeds, like miniature French bulldogs, and pugs, popular with celebrities, the figures suggest.

Nik Oakley, from Dog Lost - which reunites lost and stolen dogs with their owners - said gun dogs such as Labradors, cocker spaniels, and springer spaniels were being taken for working purposes and illicit breeding.’ Blue Cross Vets researched the locations that the dogs were stolen from and, ‘despite many owners believing dogs are taken from a public place, the data shockingly reveals over 70 per cent of dogs were stolen from where they live, and almost half from within the home itself’. (2)

The psychological impact of having a pet stolen is underestimated- as we have explored in other articles here at TRAKZ we understand the emotional bond between pets and their owners. To lose a pet particularly through someone deliberately stealing your animal is an emotionally distressing experience. January saw new guidelines for legislation in Magistrates Courts for many offences but Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is again disappointed magistrate courts are not differentiating between the theft of animate objects and pets, in this specific case dogs. Here he criticises the Sentencing Council for failing to include guidelines for dog theft and recognizing the emotional distress caused to an owner through the theft of their dog,

‘Dog theft is rarely opportunistic and the emotional harm on victims can be substantial. I was therefore disappointed to see the new sentencing guidelines for theft which were released this week as they still fail to draw an adequate distinction between a dog and any other possession such as a laptop or mobile telephone. Although an offence is still deemed to be more serious where there is a greater degree of emotional distress on the victim, the sentence is still very much determined by monetary value. I want to see a change to this. There should be a separate, distinct sentence available for dog theft which properly recognises the value of a family dog cannot be quantified in terms of monetary value.

As a dog owner myself, I know that my family and I would be devastated if our dog were to be stolen. He is part of our family and the same applies for the overwhelming majority of dogs in this country. This is why people who steal dogs should receive a far harsher sentence than is currently the case. To continue this fight, I am hosting a Dog Theft Awareness Day event on March 14 th 2017, in the Houses of Parliament as part of my continued effort to try and raise awareness about this heartbreaking crime’. (3)

TRAKZ is supporting Pet Theft Awareness Day by asking all our furry family out there to support Gareth Johnson in his mission to ensure justice for families of stolen dogs. Ask your MP to attend #DogTheftAwarenessDay - www.garethjohnsondartford.co.uk.

TRAKZ – keeping your pets SAFER, HAPPIER & HEALTHIER

(1) www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england- 36590425

(2) www.bluecross.org.uk 13/02/2017

(3) www.garethjohnsondartford.co.uk

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