A wildlife crime cop has revealed that there have been a number of attempted dog thefts in Staffordshire after two cocker spaniels were taken.
PCSO Louise Jones, a rural and wildlife crime officer at Staffordshire Police, said the black and chocolate were swiped from their home yesterday evening (March 6).
A black Audi, possibly an A3 or A4 model, is believed to have been involved in the theft.
It is the latest incident of dogs being targeted in the county in recent months.
While most of the thefts have been concentrated in the south of the county, there have also been a number of suspicious incidents in and around Stoke-on-Trent.
PCSO Jones tweeted: “Two Cocker Spaniels stolen. Last night, 6.30pm to 7.40pm from Tinkers Lane, Brewood. Black and chocolate ones. Please retweet and share far and wide. Black Audi involved, possible ab A3 or A4. Anyone who’s seen this car or has any info pls call 101. There were two or three attempted thefts of other dogs last night too.”
There have even been reports of a fake RSPCA van trying to steal pets over the border in Derbyshire.
Andrew Hubball says he was walking his pooch, Jess, in the town when he was met by a man claiming to be from the animal charity.
The postman says the man claimed to be investigating dog thefts in the area and asked him to put Jess in the back of a van with the RSPCA logo on it, while he checked Andrew was Jess’ owner.
However, Andrew refused after seeing the driver was still in the van with the engine running, and upon asking for proof if they worked for the RSPCA, he says they suddenly drove away.
Staffordshire Police have now joined forces with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to urge dog owners to look after their pet pooches.
Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman from the NPCC, said: “Dog theft can be a devastating crime for families and causes considerable distress to owners. Whilst it is still a very rare crime, it’s sadly something we have seen increasing recently.
“During the coronavirus pandemic criminals have adjusted their activities and are taking advantage of the big demand for pets over the lockdown period. The cost of a puppy has considerably increased over the past year making this a lucrative market for organised criminals to exploit.
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“We rely on the public providing us with information and would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it to their local officers. While these offences can be very difficult to investigate police understand how upsetting they are and will robustly follow any lines of inquiry.”
Officers are now urging families to check their privacy settings before sharing pictures of dogs online as it can attract criminals.
They also want anyone buying a dog to make sure it has come from a legitimate breeder before buying.
“I also want to encourage those who are buying dogs to really consider where the pet has come from and ensure that it is being purchased legally,” Deputy Chief Constable Blakemen added. “Advice can be found online on the checks you should make before purchasing a new dog or puppy.”
Anyone who is suspicious of any activity they see or who is suspicious of any dogs they see for sale should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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