A spate of dog thefts across the country seem to be targeting working dogs, with Labradors and cocker spaniels in demand for black market online deals.
Police departments have been issuing warnings, as reports have been coming in detailing gang activity and home invasion. Some owners have been distracted while walking their dogs by strangers, only to find that an accomplice has stolen their dog. Others have found they were the target of surveillance, with their dog snatched during windows of opportunity.
Dog Lost, a non-profit organisation that aims to reunite lost dogs with owners, claims there have been over 35,000 reports of stolen dogs, with over 50 per cent being trained gundogs; the organisation states that the police aren’t taking the matter seriously: “One of the difficulties in addressing the problem is that police are generally reluctant to even give a crime number unless the owner can prove the dog isn’t simply missing.”
One incident resulted in the theft of two trained gundogs in a village in Buckinghamshire. The Labradors were stolen from kennels behind the house. The dogs’ owner, Trisa Lambourne, whose husband is a gamekeeper, said: “Pip was a fully trained gun dog and Maggie was part-trained. Whoever stole them has the benefit of that training without having invested any of their time in them.”
Local police departments have been alerting residents to the crime spree, urging owners to lock kennels and microchip their dogs. Petlog is the largest lost pet microchip database, and also offers help and advice for owners.