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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - STOLEN DOG INFORMATION
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Be aware - There are professional dog thieves around who steal & sell dogs - or ransom them back to their owners.
This is not a new phenomena but has become more widespread in recent years. You may think that this is only an opportunist crime and only relevant to owners of valuable pedigree dogs but you would be mistaken on both counts.
This is sometimes a crime of opportunity but the people who commit such crimes are now very organised and know how to tempt a friendly dog into a situation where they can steal it. They often work in gangs and move from area to area so they don't attract too much attention from the Police. They prefer to steal pedigree breeds to sell as these have a higher value but will steal any breed to ransom as they depend on the dog owners affection for their dog to extract a higher price. They may use threats of torture or death to persuade owners to pay up and keep quiet. Sometimes these threats are carried out.
You don't have to be rich or a celebrity for you and your dog to become a victim of a ransom attempt - these thieves are very aware that people will pay hundreds of pounds to get their dog back safe and sound. They are aware that even people on low incomes will be prepared to sell goods or take out loans to raise a ransom.
The Police are sometimes reluctant to get involved in such matters unless there is clear evidence that a dog is stolen. Although dogs are 'property' and the laws of theft apply, dogs can wander off themselves so the fact that a dog is missing does not indicate theft. The Police would always prefer to list a dog as 'strayed' rather than 'stolen'. If you are absolutely sure your dog has been stolen you will need to insist on your report being registered as a crime and may need to provide some evidence to back up your claim before they will issue a crime reference number.
Prevention is better than cure so avoid putting your dog into a situation where the opportunity to steal it arises. We have heard of dogs being stolen from cars, caravans and gardens. Dogs are stolen when left tied up outside shops or running loose off the lead and out of owners sight. So the answer is to make sure you keep your dog in sight and not to leave it unattended. Make sure you have a detailed description and recent photographs of your dog so others can identify it. This will also help you to prove it is yours. make note of distinguishing features. Use some form of permanent identification like a tattoo or microchip.
If you do loose your dog or suspect it to be stolen, don't wait - phone the Dog Wardens - Police - local vets and rescue groups straight away - if the dog has strayed and returns to you on its own you can phone them all back to cancel the alert. Better safe than sorry!
 
Be wise - Get your dog microchipped and you can prove it is yours.
Micro-chipping is the best form of permanent identification and there are many companies producing these chips. There is a National register where details of Microchipped animals are stored for passing on to authorised finders and relevant authorities and organisations. This is BCR's preferred method of identification and all our dogs are 'chipped' these days.
Tattoo's are another method of permanent identification and there is a National Tattoo register where owners details are lodged. The disadvantage of a tattoo is that it is easily seen and can be surgically removed by a thief, although it will leave a scar. Microchips can also be removed with surgery but a scanner is needed to locate them and it is often impossible to identify their position precisely enough to allow removal.
 
Be warned - Don't buy a dog from a 'stranger' - you could be buying a stolen dog.
If you buy a dog from a stranger 'down the pub' and the dog is a stolen animal, you may have committed an offence.
If you are caught the best that you can expect is that the dog will be confiscated and returned to its original owner.
You will not be entitled to compensation for the cost of keeping the dog or money you may have paid for the dog.
You may be prosecuted if it is thought that you bought the dog and were aware that it was or may have been stolen.
If proven you may be fined. A bargain may not be what it appears to be - and any money they get for stolen goods is a profit to a thief.
If you find a stray dog and do not report it to the dog wardens you may be considered to be guilty of stealing by finding.
By law, the original owner must be given a period of time to claim back their lost dog - usually 7 days.
 
Click here to read some personal experiences of dog theft crimes..
 
Visit this website www.dogtheftaction.com where you will find out more about the growing problem of stolen dogs and get more detailed advice on how to avoid it happening to you and your dog - and what to do if it  does!
You can also find out how you can help to do something about  this problem.
 
To find out more about what to do if you find a lost or straying dog - click here
 
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